August 2, 2011

Review: The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.

I’m a huge fan of Julie Garwood; in fact, she is my all-time favorite historical romance author. I have also enjoyed her suspense novels, specially the whole Buchanan series. Her latest books have been a bit of a hit and miss for me, but because I have loved almost everything she’s written I was very happy to see this book available on NetGalley.

The heroine of The Ideal Man is Dr. Ellie Sullivan. While jogging in a park close to the hospital where she works, she witnesses a shooting. The victim turns out to be an FBI agent who was working on a case trying to catch a very famous couple of criminals. Because every single potential witness against these two criminals has ended up either dead or missing, Ellie gets placed under the custody of the FBI. The agent in charge is Max Daniels, there is an instant attraction between them but they have some things to resolve first, one of those things is that Ellie needs to attend her sister’s wedding while being targeted by the dangerous villains of the story.

I am going to start by telling you how much I enjoyed this book. Once I started it I didn’t leave my seat until I finished it, I literally read it in one sitting. The book had the perfect combination of a great story and fabulous characters. The leads were fantastic. Ellie was a pleasant surprise because she was a genius, she went through some very traumatic events and was estranged from her family. Normally when you get a heroine like that she is all damaged, in a constant pity party and just plain depressing. That wasn’t the case here, Ellie was incredible likeable, she was trying to make the best out of her life, she was positive and I never saw her as a sad character. Max was also a great character although I did find him more stereotypical. He was the classic alpha male macho hero from a romantic suspense. But they were a great couple and the chemistry between them was undeniable.

The secondary characters were incredible as well, especially Ellie’s family. The part of the book that takes place at Ellie’s hometown was hilarious. The sister was incredible two-dimensional and clichéd but she was plain funny, every single time there was some interaction between Ellie and her sister I was laughing and I couldn’t care less that the character was so unrealistic. The parents were also incredible fresh. This book had some dark things going on but because of the setting and how the characters dealt with those things it didn’t feel like a dark story.

The problem with this book was that everything about it was misleading: the cover, the blurb, even the genre. I was expecting a romantic suspense, a book that was gory, dark and suspenseful. What I got was a romantic comedy with some suspense thrown into it. I’m not complaining though, everything about this book worked for me, but I’m a huge fan of contemporary romance and maybe that’s why I liked it so much. If you are expecting a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat and that will make you fear for the safety of the leads, then this one will disappoint you. The whole suspense aspect of the story was predictable, and it was very heavy on the romance. It reminded me a lot to Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect. I think if you keep all of this in mind then you will enjoy the book as much as I did, if you expect something else then you won’t like it.

There are some secondary characters that had a lot of hero/heroine potential and at one point I even thought that they were setting one of them to be the next book’s lead. But then suddenly that story gets wrapped up which was a bit confusing. It was a shame because that particular character had a lot of potential.

Overall the book was amazing, I loved everything about it. But I can see why some people might not like it. This was a lighter read than your average romantic suspense, it wasn’t scary at all but it was a lot of fun. If you are more into the romantic aspects and don’t like frightening books then this book will be ideal.

Review by Brie
Grade: 4
Sensuality: McSexy


Dr. Ellie Sullivan has just completed her residency at a large urban hospital. While jogging in a park nearby, she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter's face, Ellie is suddenly at the center of a criminal investigation.
Agent Max Daniels takes over the Landry case. A no-nonsense lawman, he's definitely not the ideal man that Ellie has always imagined, yet she's attracted to him in a way she can't explain. Ellie heads home to Winston Falls, South Carolina, to attend her sister's wedding. Shortly after she arrives, though, she receives a surprise visitor: Max Daniels. The Landrys have been captured, and she'll be called to testify. But they've been captured before, and each time the witnesses are scared into silence-or disappear before they can take the stand. Max vows to be Ellie's shadow until the trial, and it isn't long before sparks fly.

Dutton Adult; August 9, 2011.


  1. I was excited to read this one as it was my first Julie Garwood book, but I came away thinking: nice romance, ok suspense. I liked Ellie. A successful trauma surgeon, she deals with a past trauma of her own that won't let her fully live her life. She's everything I enjoy about a leading heroine - smart, take charge, strong. She doesn't make dumb choices (one of my huge pet peeves with characters) and she was very enjoyable to read.

    1. Hi Luxembourg!

      I don't think this is the best place to start reading Ms. Garwood's books, though I really enjoyed the book. But I also thought the suspense was a bit lacking, this was more about the romance than anything else and I found the cover and blurb a bit misleading in that sense.

      I also agree that Ellie was a great heroine! You should give her historicals a try, I think romantic suspense isn't her strong point.


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