by Susanne Marie Knight

May 2002
ISBN: 1-931696-29-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Novel Books Inc.

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To be perfectly honest, Love At The Top would probably have been rated a bit higher had it not been an ebook. I, as well as many romance readers out there, are a bit more tolerant of paperbacks than ebooks. Paperbacks are so convenient to read that theyíre easier to get into. If the story isnít so hot from the get go itís not such a hardship to continue reading a few more chapters. An ebook on the other is hardly as convenient. Especially when your reading it of your computer. This is one of the reasons I feel that to be truly ranked up there an ebook has to grab your attention from the beginning and make you feel like you have to go to that next page. I have honestly read some electronic stories that Iíve stayed up all night reading, blurry eyes and all, just because I could not bare to turn off the computer and leave the story unfinished. Love At The Top isnít one of those stories.

Itís a nice tale. The hero Alex is attractive and I have a thing for tall men so heís especially appealing to me. Heís the owner of a very large company, pretty much by default; he had no intention of running the family business but due to a death in the family heís now stuck with the job he didnít want. Not that the job itself is the problem. Itís more the social scene and the demands that would be put on his time that he objects to. Schmoozing with the rich and powerful isnít something he really enjoys doing, even though heís good at it - so to alleviate the pain of having to step into his new role, heís grunging it one last time. While checking out the local site, namely a park, while dressed amazingly like a vagrant (grimy clothes, uncombed hair, the like) he encounters our heroine, Cassidy Romanelli.

Cassidy, not realizing who this badly clothed man really is, somehow finds him appealing. Ignoring his outward appearance, she responds to his personality. I think it goes without saying that they are attracted to each other and make plans to meet again.

I think it needs to be understood that our heroine has a big hang up about honesty, due to her previous marriage. That being said itís a rather unpleasant surprise for her to find out that her endearing vagrant is in fact a very rich man, and her new boss. He doesnít see the problem but she does and does her best to keep things between them strictly professional.

My biggest problem with Love At The Top is that Cassidy just didnít come alive for me until around chapter 9. I could understand herÖ sort of. I could even see and get what her emotional baggage was about, but stillÖ it wasnít quite compelling enough. But Cassidy realizes that there was something missing in her life. And then she had a revelation. Sheís confused. I loved the fact that the author made this woman stop and realize that she had to make up her own mind before she could expect anyone else to know what she wanted. And isnít that the problem in so many romance novels these days? The hero is expected to do the right thing, be the perfect complement to the heroine, even when she is being irritating and her behavior is erratic. When our heroine realized that her stop and go behavior was getting difficult to bear (at least for this reader) and understood that she had to know what she wanted before Alex could, I wanted to stand up and applaud - finally, a real reason to like this woman! Once I was able to actually get into at least one of the main characters the rest of the book was a lot more bearable to read.

Alex, for the most part, was a catalyst in this book. He was just the object used to develop Cassidyís character. Nothing about his character (except his height!) really spoke to me. Nothing jumped out as special or unique or even appealing. This book was all about the heroine and her evolution from uptight career woman to open and loving female. It took a while to get there but I was happy when she did.

One thing that is worth mentioning are the secondary characters who meet and fall in love. Jenny, is such a vibrant character that so much more could have been done with her that wasnít. I honestly feel that she either should have been made a bigger part of the story or that she and John should have been given their own book. It was really disappointing to have two characters that I can enthusiastically root for just kind of have them thrown in there.

For giving me a glimpse at a heroine who realizes sheís confused and needs to do something about it, and takes responsibility for her actions, this book deserves at least the 3 rose rating I gave it. Because the hero wasnít exactly noteworthy and it took 9 chapters for the heroine to become someone I could actually connect with, I canít give it a higher rating than a three. Love At The Top is available as a paperback and I recommend reading it in that form rather than the ebook. Although it was less than satisfying, Love At The Top showed promise and I am looking forward to reading more of Susanne Marie Knightís work. I would like to see if that promise is ever fulfilled.

Reviewed in March 2002 by JaToya.

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