Operation: Date Escape by Lindsey Brookes

Operation: Date Escape Cover

Quirky, chick-lit-infused, romantic comedy

Operation: Date Escape by Lindsey Brookes

Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: June 13, 2013
Pages: 454 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Kelsie views herself as a “twenty-seven-year-old version of Tinker Bell,” except with red hair instead of blond. She is currently strongly turned off to men because two years ago she divorced a man who, at the time of her marriage, she thought was “perfect” but who turned out to be a conniving, lying, unfaithful jerk. She has no real desire to get involved with anyone, but her never-married mother and man-hungry best friend are constantly urging her to leap back into the dating world. In the process, with the best of intentions, they constantly set her up with one failed date after the other. Then one evening, while hanging out with her best friend at a new restaurant, Kelsie encounters “the closest thing she’d ever seen to a Greek god in Columbus, Ohio,” her home town.

Cole is 34, and has been burned many times by women who insist that his beloved profession of the past 15 years as a fireman is just too dangerous for them to commit to him long term. He doesn’t believe a woman exists who will resist trying to pry him loose from his job until he meets Kelsie. He is intrigued by the fact that she finds his dedication to saving lives nothing but admirable, but even so, there is a very big barrier to his natural desire to date this beautiful, feisty woman: she thinks he is too “perfect.” The fact that he has no apparent flaws is a major red flag to her, because what if he turns out to be like her ex-husband, and all his flaws are simply hidden from view? Cole is determined to prove to Kelsie he is “imperfect” enough for her to take a chance on him, and thus begins their comic journey to love.

This novel is about half-and-half chick lit (whose distinguishing feature is amusing dating disasters) and traditional romance (known for its avoidance of romantic triangles and cheating as well as the much vaunted “happily ever after”). The main sources for the comedy in this book include: the quirky behavior of Kelsie’s mother and best friend, Kelsie’s daring escapes from the disastrous dates they foist upon her, including various rescues from said dates by Cole, as well as Cole’s humorous attempts to woo her.

Kelsie works as a dental hygienist, which is an unusual profession for a romance heroine. I don’t think I’ve seen that before. She is also a wannabe nonfiction author, writing an advice manual for women on how to “do as I say and not as I do” as a means for her audience to avoid dating debacles like the ones she has endured, which is another somewhat unique attribute in a romance heroine.

There is excellent chemistry between the two attractive, pleasing protagonists, and readers looking for a light, fun read will enjoy this book.

I rate this novel as follows:

Heroine: 4

Hero: 4

Subcharacters: 4

Romance Plot: 4

Chicklit Plot: 4

Writing: 4

Overall: 4