by Shelley Cooper from the February 24, 2014 issue
Tagline: Julie and Kevin were destined to meet and fall in love. At least, that's how Maurice saw it!
In a Nutshell: Julie's cat likes to take items from people's homes and bring them to Julie. When he snatches some things from neighbor Kevin, the humans realize there might be something worth pursuing.
Observations: This was one of the best stories I've read in a long while. In fact, it inspired me to do a Top Ten list at the end of the year.
As I read it, my smile got bigger and bigger. I make notes sometimes on the page--places in the story I want to talk about in the analysis. As you can see by the picture I marked a lot of places.
Right off the bat, there's an excellent hook first sentence.
I live with a thief.
Isn't that great?
Next, I had to admire Julie's deductive skills when she figured out which house the cuff link must have come from.
When she sees him, we get a great bit of description that takes ownership of the fact that heroes are so often tall, dark, and handsome, but puts a spin on it that makes it amusing.
He was a walking cliche--tall, dark and almost more handsome than my poor heart could tolerate.
I liked her using the word "rock" in its most modern way:
Even without the jacket, the man rocked a tuxedo.
Here's where I laughed:
"A cat burglar, huh?"
I liked her inner thoughts here too. I thought they were cute:
"No, I'm happily divorced. It's a co-worker's wedding. The cuff links were a groomsman gift."
The euphoria that filled my heart at this news was downright alarming.
The twist around two thirds in, where Maurice the cat, starts giving gifts to Kevin was surprising and absolutely perfect! I defy any reader to get to that part and not be completely sure these two will have a happy ending, because hello, the CAT liked him. That's gotta count for a lot, right?
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, the bra shows up. Game over. At this point, I'm cursing Cooper for being such a terrific writer. Sometimes I get jealous that way. I get all, "WHY are you not writing stories like this, Kate? Put the hockey books aside for a few days!"
I liked at the climax how Julie is, after being frustrated with the lack of progress in their relationship, suddenly shy and not quite ready to believe he is really interested in her. You catch your breath there (just like her) and laugh at her witty remark about the cat, just in case he didn't mean what she hopes he means.
I thought her last line came a tiny bit abruptly, but that is such a minor quibble, it's almost not worth mentioning.
Often I have a hard time writing the critique. This one came very easily.