Moose Springs, Alaska Book # 1
Heat Factor: Snogging in the diner, snogging in the pickup, snogging in the woods, so much snogging!
Character Chemistry: Relatable and natural
Plot: Zoey’s on her dream vacation to Alaska, Graham is reluctantly serving all the tourists who overrun his diner every day, but even though it’s bound to end, they can’t quite convince themselves to stay apart.
I have been thinking for the better part of this year that no one in romance novels just date because they’re just interested in each other and want to be around each other. This seems strange, since presumably most of us who have engaged in courtship rituals have done some form of dating rather than, for example, moving in with a love interest within 24 hours of meeting them. Or other dramatic things happening. Of course, casually dating and seeing where things go isn’t particularly exciting, so there could be reasons for romance shying away from that approach.
That approach is exactly what I found engaging and fresh about The Tourist Attraction. Zoey’s friend, Lana (book 2’s heroine for those interested), finagles a little forced proximity between Zoey and Graham the night the two meet, but beyond that, Zoey and Graham like each other and like to spend time together. Graham pursues Zoey a bit more than Zoey pursues Graham, but it’s cute and refreshing, and the little things they end up doing together – either Zoey’s vacation plans going awry or little dates – keep the story moving and engaging without dwelling for long on any one thing.
It’s a romantic comedy, but it’s amusing rather than laugh-out-loud. It also doesn’t get totally dark with emotional drama or other terrible external factors (I’m thinking of the marketing for Three Little Words as I say this), so I would say it is legitimately a rom com. The drama stems from the fact that Zoey’s on vacation, so there’s a natural end for the relationship and what are they going to doooooooooo?!
Anyway, it’s cute.
So, here’s the head scratcher. Morgenthaler has set up a tourists vs. locals antipathy (pretty one-sided on the part of the locals, because the tourists are all self-involved), which, in and of itself, is not particularly odd. I only worked in DC (not in the tourism industry), and the height of the tourist season also became super frustrating to me at times (there is a proper way to use the Metro escalators is all I’m saying…). But also, Moose Springs, Alaska is a small town with an economy entirely based on tourism. And yeah, everyone who lives in Alaska gets those oil checks (at least, I assume they still do, and I’m too lazy to look it up right now), but I don’t think they’re enough to live on. So in order to preserve the small town all these locals love so much, they should, maybe, not be trying to run all the tourists out of town? Or actively prevent them from finding their local businesses? I mean, how many people in town have to buy bread from the anonymous bakery in order for that bakery to survive? Why wouldn’t the bakery owner want all the custom she can get if she’s making these totally amazing cinnamon rolls? It’s weird, right? Small towns who survive because of tourism usually get super stressed when there are downswings in trade. But it sets up some drama for book 2, I guess, when Lana tries to rescue the town.
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