Thursday, January 22, 2009

Review: Stranger

Title: Stranger
Author: Megan Hart
Genre: Erotica
Published: January 2009

Grace ~ Not a person you would expect to be a funeral director or pay for sex but she does both. She enjoys doing both. She's good at her job and wants no strings in her relationships so paying for sex makes sense.

Sam ~ The stranger in the bar. But not the right stranger. Too late, Grace realizes her mistake. Then trying to undo the mistake becomes a matter of trying to learn to live with pain and loss. Something she wants to avoid at all costs.

I'll start with stating right off the bat that I love Megan Hart's writing. I've read two of her previous books, Dirty and Broken and enjoyed both of them. I would say Broken is one of my all time favorite books. So when I started reading Stranger I had a pretty good idea what I was getting. Did Ms. Hart deliver? Hell yeah! Stranger was pure Megan Hart magic! Sure it's erotica and there are many sex scenes, heck the heroine pays for sex. But Hart's writing is much more than just the bump and grind of two people. She gets you into their minds and lets the reader see their insecurities, fears, needs and dreams. Are her heroine and heroes your typical contemporary fictional characters? Nope. They are sometimes so flawed you can't help but wonder how they can be considered hero/heroine material. But in the end they are people just like us in so many ways. Hart shows us that flaws are beautiful and that being perfect is highly overrated and very boring. Bring on the beautiful, flawed characters!

A funeral director is not a job for just anyone. You need compassion, sensitivity, organizational skills, certainly people skills and a strong stomach. Grace has all of these. She inherited her father's funeral home, Frawley and Sons, when her father retired. Her brother and sister had no desire to go into the family business but Grace knew it was what she wanted. She's very good at it. But it's also left it's mark on her. She sees death, works with it and it's made her decide that she doesn't want the closeness of a long term relationship. She doesn't even want a boyfriend. So paying for escorts and what may or may not follow is what she's chosen.

Sam comes to Annville, Pennsylvania out of family obligation. He meets Grace in a bar and has the most amazing sexual encounter. When he tries to continue seeing Grace she gives him the brush off. But Sam can be very stubborn and determined. He's got some serious issues to get through and Grace is someone who he connects with on more than just a physical level.

Sam is such a complex male character. Many layers to him. On the outside he seems like a fairly simple guy. Hangs out in bars, plays guitar, easy going with some family issues thrown in. But once you see past the easy going nature to the emotional wreck that he is it's obvious he needs more than what he can possibly ask for. So who does he end up turning to but someone who has no intentions of getting into an emotional relationship. Sam and Grace learn from each other, not without pain but anything worth learning often comes at a price.

And then there's Jack. Wow. What can I say about Jack? He's what I would call a catalyst for Grace. He's the one that helped her see what she really wanted, needed. I do think he was necessary even if his initial intention was only to make money and give Grace some great sex. But Grace did need him, not only in a sexual way but to get her to really think and be honest with herself. Some readers might not like that Grace slept with Jack after she had been with Sam but IMO she couldn't have gotten to the point of wanting to be with Sam in a long term relationship without first being with Jack. The relationship she developed with Jack was critical. And I do hope that Jack gets his own story. There's more to him than just a pretty face and great sex.

And those sex scenes are certainly as graphic as any erotic novel but they are more than just bodies coming together. They give a special perception into a character. Showing rather than telling. Hart is very good at the show instead of tell of writing. The hows and the whys of a characters' feelings are reflected in the way they have sex. Is it fast and rough? Or do they take their time, going slow and savoring each other. Do they give the other person what they need or simply take what they want? All of this gives the reader insight to the character's emotional personality at the time. What's driving them to do what they are doing? Why they are there instead of somewhere else? Are they where they belong? Much more than simple sex scenes.

I could go on and on about this book. There are some great secondary characters and side stories as well. If you like a well written erotic novel then I would strongly suggest giving Megan Hart a try. Her book list and excerpt can be found on her website.

Rating: A+


  1. I read it a couple of days ago. It was really good :)

  2. Okay, Thanks for the spoilers warning! I just skipped to your grade. A+!! Yay. I can't wait to read it!

  3. Full disclosure: I didn't read the review because of the spoilers. I just scrolled down to see your grade and I'm psyched that you loved it enough to give it an A=. I think this seals it for me, and I've seen lots of other good ratings for this book. I'm getting it.

    I'll come back to read your review when I've read it. :)

  4. Hello Maija ~ Have you read any other Megan Hart books? She has a huge backlist that I want to read. Many in ebook format.

  5. Hi CJ ~ Yep, loved it. :) I think I'm officially a Megan Hart fangirl! lol

  6. I have read all of her Spice novels and some of her shorter e-books. They are all awesome :)

  7. Hey KMont ~ I've seen some high ratings for this one too. Have you read any of her previous books? Stranger does have a few characters from Dirty but can still be read as a stand alone IMO.

  8. Maija ~ another reason why I really want an ereader. :)