REVIEW: Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Dear Ms. Kleypas:

After 20 plus historical novels, you’ve decided to change course and write a first person contemporary woman’s fiction novel. Sugar Daddy is billed as a big story featuring a plucky innocent heroine and her dilemma between two rich, alpha businessmen. The narrator, Liberty is a charming and sweet girl who would have made a great Young Adult heroine.

Unfortunately this is not a young adult book, but rather a woman’s fiction novel. I had a hard time buying into the idea that Liberty Jones had grown up by the age of 24 when the book ended. Had the story focused on the female protagonist, her struggle to cope as a mother figure for her 2 year old sister and her mixed race heritage, rather than the choice between two rich men, it would have had greater meaning. Or perhaps if it had explored, in depth, the real emotional issue of being in love with two men, it would have resonated more. Instead, it is just an accounting of Liberty’s short life, from age 13 to 24, her two loves, and ending with a contrived conflict.

Liberty Jones and Hardy live on the wrong side of the track. They grow up together, falling for each other, but Hardy has big dreams and they don’t include staying in Welcome Texas. As time goes on, Liberty becomes involved with Churchill Travis, who is like Elvis in the financial world. Churchill and Liberty become very close friends, to the point that some start calling Churchill her sugar daddy. This angers eldest macho son, Gage, to no end.

No man is resistant to Liberty’s charms and Gage eventually falls for her (after she nurses him back from health, another romance cliche, like the characterizations of Gage and Hardy). The problem is that Hardy reappears on the scene about 60 pages from the end and Liberty has to make the right choice for her future.

The story opens with the narration of Liberty Jones at age 13 when her mother and her mother’s current boyfriend moved to Welcome Texas. The story, while told in the first person, is narrated at times in the present and, at times, by some older person in a retrospective manner. It had a disjointed feel to it. One minute we would be there with Liberty and the next minute, you would be commenting that “name belts were big back then.” There would be odd moments when Liberty, as a child, would make observations like “True handsomeness had escaped him by millimeters.” or that she wanted to touch Hardy, “not in sensuality but in wonder.” But pages later, Liberty could not figure out why her mother’s family wanted nothing to do with her just after being called a wetback. Toward the latter part of the book, the summarizing statements continued and I was never sure who the narrator was. Was it Liberty at the present time or was it Liberty years later recounting her tale?

As I stated earlier, Liberty is a charming narrator but she remained so innocent, so good, so perfect throughout the book, that she lacked realism for me. There were parts of the story that were very romantic with the two men serving as bookends for Liberty’s life. I felt that on the one hand, you were trying to reach an audience beyond the fan base you had built in romance and on the other, trying to satisfy the core romance reader which led to a kind of disjointed, unfocused story. I did like the voice of Liberty, however, and wasn’t displeased with her choice at the end. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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0 comments on “REVIEW: Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

  1. I’m really bummed that not only is this book written in first person (sorry I do not read first person point of view) but it’s in hard cover!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UGH…and even though Amazon is selling it for $13.57 (original price $19.95).

    Sorry but Lisa lost a reader with me on this one.

  2. Well, I’ve already preordered this one, and wonder at your comments if Kleypas is going to take a while to transfer her voice from the young and innocent heroines of historical Romance she’s used to writing and a more realistic contemporary heroine. To be completely honest, I’d buy this book no matter what, simply to support the continuation of Kleypas’s willingness to try something new. Granted, I hate that she left historical Romance, but since she plans to return, I DON’T want her to be one of those talented writers without a contract someday. Hers is one of the few voices that I enjoy even when it’s overly familiar.

  3. Ugh, I hate love triangle plots. I mean, I really cannot stand them. I pulled aside an ARC we got in at work, I might still give it a shot. Kleypas testing the waters with a contemporary has me curious and personally, I’m a first person POV whore. A hold-over from my primarily mystery reading days…..

  4. [quote comment=”23875″]It sounds like Danielle Steele meets SEP, written in first person to freshen it up. I think I’ll pass on this one.[/quote]

    wwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeee

    I said that too! hee

    Hey Jane can all posts that every include my name have that texas tag? Cuz it is the coolest. I am looking at this book. RIGHT this second. I have picked it up and put it down. Flipped through it…

    I think I will like it cuz I am odd like that. But man it sounds bad. And I hate first person. But I have a lurve for kleypas. And robin… it will take even longer since she has already gone back to historicals. And hopefully will stay there *g*.

  5. Although this one in particular doesn’t appeal to me that much, I do say more power to her in wanting to try something new and different. Sometimes when an author crosses a barrier it works very well. I adored the two Heath contemporaries and would love to see her write more. So although I’m up in the air on this one, I’m certainly open to try any future contemps Lisa Kleypas writes.
    And I didn’t think I’d like first person books that much either but then I read Linda Howard’s and loved, loved loved them.

  6. I’d thought this was a contemporary romance (rather than contemporary women’s fiction). I’m not big on first person but as a major Kleypas fan, I’ll still give it a chance. If I don’t like it, then I may just stick to her historicals.

  7. Pingback: Dionne Galace » Blog Archive » Someone to Watch Over Me by Lisa Kleypas

  8. I’m 16 years old and i fell in love with this book… It was me and my friends favorite topic of discussion. Not only do i think there should be a sequal to this book there should be even more after that. I couldn’t put it down, i finished it in two dayyss

  9. Pingback: The Good, The Bad and The Unread » Blog Archive » Sugar Daddy the reviews…

  10. never having read any of her other books and being a romance sceptic at best, I picked this up as light reading chick lit and was pleasantly surprised. While the plot thickening details are a bit genre predictable, the descriptive writing, especially in the beginning was rather lyrical and well done, overall, a charming book.

  11. I have read almost all of Lisa Kleypas’s books and would like to read her early works. Is there any chance of bringing back her out of print books for all of us to read. I think I would enjoy these more than any of her new contemporary books.

  12. i didnt still finish it but i really love it so far
    and smthing caught me in the book
    is when Librety was telling gage travis abot hardy and then he told her :’ur focsing too hard on not-loving hardy while u cant admit the fact that a part of u still wants him’
    i really felt connected to it from a persona exprencie
    im really exited to finish it!

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