Ryan Williams has the idyllic life in this romantic novel: he’s deeply in love with his wife Mary and building Windmere, an exclusive resort, into a destination for the wealthy. But tragedy is just around the corner. Mary can’t conceive and, in fact, she’s feeling more tired than usual. Faithful readers of romantic fiction will know immediately what happens next: Mary will die and Ryan will grieve until he meets another woman.
If you’re a fan of this genre, Laura’s Big Win goes down as easily as a spoonful of sugar, although there are some lumps in the sugar bowl. The story is too pat; the writing at times downright corny. “Ryan was a wise, thoughtful man,” writes author Michelle Tschantré, “and one of his dreams was that when they made love, they would not be two people, but one person in two bodies, each acting for the benefit of the other…”
Befitting this genre, the characters are “types:” handsome guy, beautiful girl. The down-on-her-luck woman Ryan eventually meets, who comes complete with two adorable children, saves him from the sadness of his tragic past; he saves her from her desperate circumstances. He’s wealthy, kind and sensitive. She’s intelligent, beautiful and plucky. There are some uneventful subplots and even a few encounters from the ghostly world to ensure the outcome, but nothing much happens while the reader waits for Ryan and Laura to consummate their relationship and live happily ever after.
Still, there’s something to be said for this escapist fare: a book where the hard edges of life are softened, all unpleasant situations tied up in a bow. If the reader wants a pleasant break from reality, Laura’s Big Win fits the bill nicely.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.