|Photo by Patricia Walters|
They won't have good things to say about Jim.
My critique group doesn't like Jim (Angel's husband and Charli's father), nor do most of the readers I've talked to. Then again, I haven't given them much reason to like him. He's pompous, spoiled, arrogant and, when it comes to Marita, he ran off when it was time to man up.
Even the most unlikeable characters have to be unlikeable for a reason, though. In Jim's case, that reason looms large in the form of his mother, Carmella. The only boy among her three children, Jim was raised to be a prince. Doted on, excused and elevated above his siblings, Jim grew into the entitled and demanding adult that we meet in each of the novels.
It's easy to see why Jim would marry Angel. Aside from being devout, kind, attractive and the polar opposite of Marita, she definitely had the potential to be the kind of wife he desired: a sweet, old-fashioned girl who would love, honor and obey.
But why, my readers ask, would Angel marry Jim?
Angel is the kind of person who sees the best in everyone, and this tendency also encourages those around her to put on their best face. Charmed by Angel, Jim himself was charming, showing her the gentleman he'd been brought up to be. Like any prince, he can be dazzling and protective when the fairy tale is going according to plan. But, when the story sneaks down a dark path, that same prince, unaccustomed to things not going his way, has a darker side as well. Every fairy tale is supposed to have a happy ending and when things lurch frighteningly toward unhappily ever after, even a true prince can show his true colors.
For all his flaws, Jim truly does love Angel, just as Angel loves him. As the story begins, the fairy tale is in full swing, with Angel and Jim living the life she has longed for. At the outset, Jim is her prince and his past is the only dark cloud on the horizon.
But soon it's gonna rain.