Rating:

cover-art-newestReviewed by Shannon Trenton

When Selwyn meets the beautiful and intelligent Vicki he instantly falls for her but is stung by her apparent rejection. Focused on his obsession with closing the deal, he begins a stock-market-inspired love straddle with Vicki as his short option and unsuspecting townie Barbara as the long. Will he ever be able to “close the short” on Vicki, or are they destined to be apart?

The premise of M.P. Knox’s Love Straddle is an intriguing one, and at its core the story is relatable. Love affairs disrupted by circumstance and cross purposes are a central and often drawn-out element in many people’s lives. While some are fortunate to consummate the relationship, or at least resolve their feelings toward its failure, others are doomed to forever skirt the edges of a deeper connection. With neither Vicki nor Barbara behaving as he predicts or expects, Selwyn learns that not everything in life can be approached with black-and-white answers—sometimes emotions come into play that will not be easily maneuvered through a straddle.

So it goes with Selwyn and his passion for Vicki, unfading after the separation of years and continents and other relationships.

In similar stories it is almost instinctual to root for the star-crossed lovers to align and live happily ever after. However, from the beginning I found Selwyn impossible to like because of his superior attitude and complete lack of any emotional understanding. Despite his upbringing, which he briefly explains in the opening chapters, I could only shake my head at his complete disrespect of other people and at his approach to relationships.

Another significant issue for me was the unnecessary depth of many details. Pages of explanation of engineering concepts and political discussions obscured the real story and made it nearly impossible to stay engaged. Even some information that proved to be somewhat important, such as the brief explanation of a straddle in prospecting terms, was far too drawn out. This 600-plus page book could lose half its length and be twice as compelling.

That said, despite my distaste for Selwyn as a character it was interesting to see how his relationship with Vicki changes over the forty years that Love Straddle spans and to see the other relationships that Selwyn begins and ends in the meantime. Ultimately, I find the question of Selwyn’s maturity beyond his earlier mindset to be questionable.

Readers who are interested in reading a more calculated approach to a love story may enjoy Love Straddle, as may those who enjoy an antihero who doesn’t always win.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Shannon lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, son, and two cats. When she isn’t reading, getting paid to play on social media, or running her own business she enjoys playing with her baby and cooking.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by M.P. Knox. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.