Review: Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens

Publication Date: April 29th, 2011
Grove Creek Publishing
Format: Paperback, 243 pages
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Ashlyn: A lonely society princess living in New York City.
Daddy hired you to be my bodyguard.
Colin: Childhood enemy, now her protector.
Daddy thought I’d be safe. He thought I’d never fall in love. He thought he could keep me forever.
Charles: obsessed with keeping her safe, keeping her his, he hires the one person he knows she could never fall in love with: Colin.
                                                                           Daddy was wrong.

Overprotected is a story about a suffocating love and unreasonable paranoia. Ashlyn’s entire life has been a cycle of bodyguards and chaperones. A kidnapping incident during her childhood forced her father Charles to hire an endless stream of bodyguards that left her feeling pretty much imprisoned for the majority of her blossoming adult life. Charles’ paranoia was borderline extreme, in my opinion. The story goes that Ashlyn’s former nanny fell in love with Charles then use her for ransom in exchange for his heart. But the entire ordeal wasn’t really that traumatic for Ashlyn, as the nanny treated her nicely while she was being held against her will. I guess it was traumatic enough for Charles that he didn’t want to take any chances. Let me put my mother hat here and be completely honest and admit that I’d probably do the same thing, if I had the resources. The thing is, Charles need to protect his daughter was a bit severe and unrealistic. I found myself waffling on whether or not Charles’ fear was unfounded.  Perhaps if his position in the society and his job were a bit more on the dangerous side then it would be understandable. If he was say, the DA or a Supreme Court Judge where he could easily put his family’s life in jeopardy. But I just couldn’t justify it. I also questioned his sanity when he hired an acquaintance instead of hiring a retired Secret Service Agent or something. At least, someone with more creds than Colin. He didn’t even have any experience. I am more convinced that Charles’ fear over Ashlyn’s safety was just contrived.

I can’t tell you how many times I cringed when Ashlyn, a grown up woman, would call her father daddy.  The princess thing is cute, but the daddy thing? Er, not so much. And what is up with her mother hitting on Colin? Anyway, let’s just say both her parents were on the side of crazies.

This story had the makings of a stirring romance what with the bad history between the main characters but unfortunately, it didn’t really do much for me. I think with a few more tales of Colin’s bullying and mistreatments of Ashlyn when they were kids would’ve helped tremendously. If you were to convince me that your fear of this boy is just, then a couple of childhood memories which include stringing popcorn and the boy chasing you with a crab (both unrelated) ain’t gonna cut it. The more I think of it, the more I see Ashlyn as an overdramatic heiress.

I don’t know, I’ve read a couple of Jennifer Laurens’ books and it just feels like her fantastic story lines end up as a series of unrealized potentials. The short blurbs has this ability to charm me into buying. Take this book, for example, the synopsis alone made me buy the paperback copy instead of buying the much cheaper e-copy. But I’m just a little bit disappointed that again, it didn’t live up to my expectations. I think my main problem with Jennifer’s books are the characters. I’m afraid that they lack the same charming ability that initially draws me to her books. She has a way of writing too simplistic characters. They lack the depth needed to parallel the actual person she’s written. A great example is Ashlyn. She’s pretty much alone in her head most of the time because she’s never really gotten used to her bodyguards so you’d think that this girl would have a lot more layers – a bit more philosophical about her need for freedom. Sadly, Ashlyn just wasn’t really that developed.

But I’m not quitting on Jennifer just yet. She’s got a several stories that I haven’t read and I want to keep reading them until I can say, wow, Jennifer, this was a fantastic read! 

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