It Had to Be You (Chicago Stars, #1) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
audio book, Narrator Anna Fields
Published 1996 by Book on Tape
Listened May 2011
I can't remember why I chose to listen to this book. I'm not sure what drew me to it. I was looking for another fun chick-lit type novel, but this is more of a romance novel.
First of all, the story was slow to get started. I thought it was ironic that it started out at a funeral since the last audio book I listened to also started at a funeral. Heading into chapter 4, I was skeptical if I would make it to the end. The story finally picked up once Phoebe arrived in Chicago and started running the Chicago Stars. I, also, had trouble listening to narrator. Her voice grated on my nerves a bit; though, I did become accustomed to it. And I found some of the male football player voices comical.
Now that I've gotten the negative aspects out of my system on to what I liked about the book. You can't help feel for Phoebe. She is an abuse survivor, but because no one helped her with the trauma her coping mechanisms are a bit screwed up. She plays the part of dimwitted bimbo because she thinks that is what is expected of her. And honestly, after years of being told as much it is easier to fill the role than try to change others' minds. Understanding why she is the way she is doesn't keep you from wanting to shake her and tell her to stop the act. Her growth as a character is well done in the book and it is rewarding to see her thrive when provided the right encouragement and environment.
Dan is your typical male. Though he does try to do the right thing, sometimes his maleness just gets in the way. I wanted to shake him a time or two - Don't you see the scared little hurt girl? I wanted to ask him. When he starts to learn of Phoebe's past, he sheds the tough guy routine and hurts along side her. He is tender and caring, just what Phoebe needs to learn that not all men are bad.
The younger sister Molly is a side story. At first I thought her purpose was to show that Phoebe was wrong about her father not loving her, but soon you realized that he is even more unloving. He pitted the two sisters against each while destroying each in turn. The interactions between Molly and Dan also serve to show that he isn't really your typical football guy, but can be a truly wonderful father figure.
There was several sex scenes in this book and pretty detailed. Since it's an audio book, I couldn't easily skip over it. The first sex scene made sense to be a bit detailed. Having suffered sexual assault in the past, it was important to relaying Phoebe's emotional and mental reaction. However, the other two scenes I could have done without the detail.
Though I enjoyed the story and connected with the characters, the amount of sex will keep me from continuing with this series (which from my Left Behind post you know is very hard for me. Even now I'm wondering what's next for these two).