Book Review

Just Surrender by Kathleen O’Reilly


Title: Just Surrender
Author: Kathleen O'Reilly
Publication Info: Harlequin 2011
ISBN: 9780373796151
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Cover I usually love O’Reilly’s heroes, and this one was no exception, but my disappointment rested on the heroine’s character, and the unfinished business between them, and of the hero’s past as well. Despite my disappointment in this story, I so love O’Reilly’s characters that I’ll pick up her next book without hesitation.

Edie is moonlighting for a night as a cab driver when she picks up Tyler at the airport. He’s a highly-trained surgeon who specializes in cardiology and is in New York City for a short stay while he competes for a fellowship at a local hospital. He’s competing against a pile of other doctors, but there’s one in particular that he really loathes, and of course he’s ready to show up and show off at every opportunity. Edie takes him for a wild cab ride through most of the five boroughs, since the fare from the airport to the city is a fixed rate, and somewhere along the ride they begin to fascinate each other. The night culminates in a rather naked and explosive fashion at the hotel where Tyler is staying, the sex-drenched Belvedere.

The heroine, Edie, was a superblown over-the-top character who at times seemed to do no wrong in the eyes of anyone. I liked her but I was also exhausted by her, and questioned her judgment. She’s mistrustful of her father, who is a surgeon as well, and adores her mother, who loves her husband but is very, painfully neglected by him. Edie and her mother have a very close relationship, which I enjoyed, except that they tend to skirt around painful topics, or touch on them and fly away to ‘everything is ok, let’s have a rich lunch’ land. Edie is very, very, very, very wealthy, and uses her resources to buy a diner, which is unique in a way that I don’t want to spoil.

Tyler is steady, hurt by a longstanding wrong done to him, and brilliant at what he does. He tolerates no distractions from his goal – winning the fellowship – and is fascinated by the human heart as a muscle. Of course the obvious trope is there: he understands the biologic and electrical functions of the heart and how to repair it, but he’s not much for emotions or even relationships, and Edie, being the perfect eager fixer-type that she is, offers to give him lessons on relationships. Tyler, for his part, wants to be near Edie, superficially because he wants to get in her pants but soon enough he acknowledges he has reasons beyond the mere pantular.

The two problems I had were the unfinished business that existed between Tyler and his brother and their family. So much is revealed in the end that has to be continued in the next book that I wasn’t sure of the hero’s feelings, his emotional stability, or his happy ending. His story was resolved enough for my satisfaction.

The other problem I had was that in the end,

the heroine too easily adopts the life she had feared, with so few compunctions about aligning herself with the type of relationship she has long abhorred.

She struggles with feeling selfish for wanting and expecting the hero’s time when he’s off saving lives as a surgeon, and places everyone else’s happiness above her own in a gesture that seems selfless but ultimately is not really that selfless at all. Edie is happy when she’s needed, and “need” and “want” are big themes in this short novel.

The wildly different aspects of the heroine’s character weren’t resolved or unified enough in the end for me, and neither were the hero’s personal pains and past hurts, and while I wanted them to be together and be happy, the final scene, wherein the heroine calls her mother for commiseration, did not do much to restore my confidence in their happy ever after. I am guessing I’ll see more of them in Tyler’s brother’s story, and I wanted Tyler and Edie’s story to be complete in itself.

Just Surrender is available from Amazon | Kindle | BN | Book Depository |

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Miranda says:

    Is that a Christmas wreath on her bra (or is she just happy to see him)?

    PW: reason62. I can’t come up with 1 reason to have a wreath on your bra.

  2. 2
    Freshechelle says:

    “pantular”  in the words of Lenny Leonardson, necessary.  Thank you for enriching my vocab.

  3. 3

    I read Lora Leigh’s ‘Live Wire,’ and found 12 typos, 2 ‘HUH???‘s’ and 1 ‘crappy english’ errors.  This is the first time I’ve read any of her paperback books with so many errors.  Shortly thereafter I heard about the mistakes in ‘Navarro’s Promise.’  Sounds like someone needs a new proof reader.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Lora’s writing, but hey, this needs to stop.  We pay approximately 8 dollars a book, and to some of us that’s a small investment in entertainment. (:

  4. 4
    Veronica says:

    The heroine seems like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. To the reviewer, would you say that’s a fair assessment? It’s just that I can’t abide this type of character, so I might give this one a miss if that’s the case.

  5. 5
    SB Sarah says:

    Veronica, I would say that is an apt description based on the TVTropes entry:

  6. 6
    Diva says:

    The heroine of this one sounds like one of those oh-look-how-outrageous-and-whimsical-I-am! characters who bother me.

    Also, what is WRONG with her bra? It looks like it isn’t placed right or else her cover model rack is positioned oddly…

    Distracting, that.

  7. 7
    Darci says:

    The cover model looks like she needs about fifteen sandwiches STAT. That and a new bra.

  8. 8
    K says:

    Pantular is going to be my word for the week..or however long i can remember it. Thank you

  9. 9
    Danny says:

    I think I’d have to read a rather glowingly positive review of a Kathleen O’Reilly book before giving her another shot. That’s how much I didn’t enjoy my one encounter with her, “Shaken and Stirred.” The hero of that book was a champ but I just didn’t find the heroine likable at all.

  10. 10
    Veronica says:

    SB Sarah – Thank you, I thought that might be the case. Oh well, plenty of books in the sea!

  11. 11
    AgTigress says:

    Diva:  I don’t think there is anything really wrong with the cover model’s bra;  it’s just too small for her.  But as there is a red rosette pinned to it, she evidently won first prize for something.

    SB Sarah:  I do learn some splendid new words on this site.  I’m not sure I shall get any opportunity to use ‘pantular’, but I shall be on the alert for a chance.

  12. 12
    JenD says:

    Cover dude looks like he’s checking her for underarm hair. Odd moments in Getting To Know You history.

    More wittier replies after I’ve slept.

  13. 13
    Liza L says:

    O’Reilly hangs her plots on her heroines’ personal hangups (a characteristic more common of “chick lit”, I think), and runs the risk of making them unlikeable. Even if I don’t like all of them, I do like it that she dares to create some difficult and prickly women. She writes diverse heroines. You might try Sex, Straight Up (I think I remember Sarah reviewing that one), Beyond Breathless, or Hot Under Pressure. The women are a bit older, and I felt more sympathetic to their flaws and conflicts.

    So I read the excerpt for this one and it was working its magic on me…right up to the tire-changing scene. It just would have been awesome if Edie could have changed her own tire (though I recognize that it was a contrivance to get her into a bar with her sexy fare), and I too was picking up vibes of Manic Pixie.  But I like O’Reilly’s style, so I’ll be buying it when the digital edition releases (WTF? why can’t I have it now?)

  14. 14
    SB Sarah says:

    @Liza L: You can get the digital version from the eHarlequin site right here.

  15. 15
    hapax says:

    I think this one would have lost me at “very very wealthy” but “moonlighting as a cab driver.” 

    I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about the poor hard working cab driver who could’ve really used a good fare, but lost it to Slumming Party Girl.  Not to mention the inherent creepiness of shacking up with a fare.

    [verification word “known56”:  yeah, I’ve known 5 or 6 cabdrivers in my time]

  16. 16
    Danny says:

    Thanks for the reccomendations Liza L. :) I’ll definitely keep them in mind.

  17. 17
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  18. 18
    Liza L says:

    @SB Sarah, thanks for the link. I concluded too hastily that the digital pub was delayed til May—it was just an internet glitch. I happily downloaded my copy and breezed through its 170 pages. The story disappointed, sadly, for all the reasons you detailed in your review. I couldn’t understand why Edie and Tyler even liked each other. Though the text assured me that they did.

  19. 19
    Tiffany says:

    Honestly.. even though you pointed out some major flaws in the story, I can’t help but be intrigued. This sounds like my type of trashy book- I actually love over-the-top characters. Kind of like in JC Gardner’s Sinful Liasons.. both leads are larger than life (a model and a company heir) and it’s exhilarating. Kind of an escape from my thoroughly middle-class life. I don’t know that I’d be bothered by Edie. Might have to add this one to the list, despite the Christmas wreath bra ;)

  20. 20
    Nina P. says:

    I kind of liked the bittersweet quality of the ending—it had a realistic little sting to it. If you marry a hotshot doctor, you’re not going to see much of him—no matter how much he loves you, his career will come first.

    But maybe I’m sick.  I liked the heroine of “Shaken and Stirred”—she was kind of flaky, but I thought she was a good match for almost-too-good-to-be-true Gabe.

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