Imperfect by April Wilson (2017)
Imperfect is the fifth book in April Wilson’s McIntyre Security Bodyguard series. I have read book one in this contemporary romance series, Vulnerable, which features Shane McIntyre and ends on a cliffhanger, so I was wary as to whether or not Imperfect would truly stand alone. While I think readers who haven’t read any of the previous books in this series won’t be confused or lost, I do think it was helpful to me as a reader that I had at least read the first book. It establishes all of the members of the McIntyre family, who to varying extents appear over the course of Imperfect. If you’re not sure where to start, I would recommend beginning with Vulnerable and then if you like the writing and the characters, read Imperfect. If you’re a continuing reader, then know that you’ll see all of your favorite characters from previous books in the series. As of this writing, both Vulnerable and Imperfect are available through Kindle Unlimited but not from my local library. Imperfect receives an above average rating from me (it’s solidly between a B and a B+). It’s not one of my favorite books of the year but it’s definitely not the worst book I’ve read recently. Give this author a try and see what you think.
This is the story of Molly and Jamie. At the beginning of the story, we learn that Molly has been divorced from her husband, Todd, for exactly one year. She’s an artist who owns her own studio and is finally feeling like she’s back on her feet and feeling stable and optimistic about life. We also learn early on in the story that she is a breast cancer survivor. While she has no regrets about the course of treatment she chose, she is still coming to terms with the after effects. Her character arc is one that begins with her being self-conscious of her body to fully accepting and loving her own body and being comfortable in her own skin. Jamie McIntyre is rebuilding his life as well. A former Navy SEAL, Jamie was injured in an explosion that blinded him while deployed. When the story begins, he is moving into his own apartment in a new neighborhood. He had been living in his brother, Shane’s, home where the housekeeper and groundskeeper did everything for him. Jamie is looking for independence and to prove that he is capable of living a normal life. For both Molly and Jamie, one of their challenges is to stop believing that they are “defective” in some way because of what they have physically lost (n.b.: “defective” is not my word, it’s the word the characters use in connection with their own self-image). The action that consistently drives the story forward is the threat of Molly’s ex-husband, Todd, who grows more erratic and threatening in his behavior toward Molly, and the love plot between Molly and Jamie. If it sounds like not a lot happens in the story, well, I can’t really argue with that. In a lot of ways, Imperfect is much more character-driven than plot-driven. Perhaps that’s why at times it felt like a slow read.
The story is told from the alternating first-person POVs of Molly and Jamie, though we get at least 75% of the story told from Molly’s POV. The supporting cast of characters is entertaining and does its part in moving Molly and Jamie toward happily ever after. Perhaps the most vivid are Molly and Jamie’s interactions with Elly, Shane’s housekeeper, who thinks of Jamie as a son, and Molly’s best friend, Chloe (who may or may not receive her own story in this series if the epilogue is an accurate gauge of what’s to come). I made the allusion earlier but it’s worth repeating here that if you have read previous books in the series, it’s being invested in the cast of characters and the McIntyre family as a whole that keeps you coming back to this series. If you enjoy contemporary romance series that focus on the loves and lives of large families, then I think you’ll get exactly what you came for in Imperfect. I would also add that if you like contemporary romantic suspense, just know that this book is more grounded in the conventions of the contemporary romance than romantic suspense. That is, the love plot is very much at the center of the novel, with the suspense plot treated more as a subplot and a way to add external tension to the love story.
I liked Imperfect, and while April Wilson hasn’t yet reached my “must-read” author shelf, she is definitely a good writer who delivers a good romance.
Have you read Imperfect or any of the previous books in the McIntyre Security Bodyguard series? What do you think?