Author: Jenny Schwartz
Mistaken Engagement is the next Escape Publishing release from West Australian author Jenny Schwartz, released January 2013. It is another engaging piece of short fiction weighing in at 10,000 words that takes place over the Australia Day long weekend. I am familiar with Christmas romances, Valentines romances and I think even the odd Easter novel but I have never read an Australia Day romance – a beautiful benefit of Escape being so Aussie focused I guess.
Grace and Saul belong to the same extended family and have known each other since her mother married into the family over a decade ago. A rash announcement at their 10 year anniversary sees Grace furious with her step-cousin Saul and avoiding the family.
The premise for this story seems a little far-fetched to me, I can almost see the motivation but I can’t really get my head around the believability. I totally see the ‘small world’ eventuality of a guy Grace gets to know in a coffee shop meeting her step-sister and them getting involved because that sort of thing does tend to happen quite a lot, yet it still surprises me. What I have trouble getting my head around is why a step-cousin would jump in to save the day by announcing an engagement, maybe it’s just my family but I really doubt that could ever seem like a good idea. In my family it would only take one date for EVERYONE to know that there had been a date so an engagement without knowledge of a date would seem extremely suspicious.
That aside, I did really enjoy the story. I could totally understand the following fallout, Grace calls Saul on his fake announcement and bolts. She avoids the family out of embarrassment and Saul cops the brunt of everyone thinking he drove her away.
Grace is a quiet and studious student doctor throwing herself into her work, a lot of the time to the exclusion of all else and the concern of her family. Saul on the other hand comes from a wealthy family and comes across as a playboy though we do only get this piece of information through Grace’s eyes and her perception is far from accurate.
Saul uses his connections to ensure that Grace has the weekend off work and convinces her to accompany him home for the weekend so they can show the family that there’s no hard feelings. This puts them in quite close contact and sheds a new light on both the characters and their relationship.
Mistaken Engagement is a very quick read but one that is filled with emotion, insecurity and finding the strength to follow your heart and find your dreams. Short fiction is a snapshot, one weekend in the lives of our heroes, there is no happily ever after but there certainly is a happy ending, and one that offers a promise of happily ever after. The fairytale bliss of your dreams coming true and discovering that the hottie you’ve been crushing on forever really is the man of your dreams.
I think Jenny Schwartz is very good at short fiction and her two Escape titles have definitely cemented her in my to follow and stalk list awaiting new work to snack on and I love that these really are a single sitting read.