Rory Temple is on his way to seal an important business deal, and Sunny Morgan is heading for her parent's wedding, when a freak blizzard in April diverts their airplane to a small airport in the middle of nowhere. It's a six hour drive in good weather from where they landed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to their destination of Chicago, so with bad weather and less than 24 hours to get there, it's absolutely crucial to rent a car ASAP. When Sunny is told that the last car has been taken, she is crestfallen, until she is also informed that the man who rented it is going the same direction she is. Unfortunately, he is the man whose lap she had accidentally fallen into during heavy turbulence on their flight. Setting aside her embarrassment for the sake of attaining her childhood dream, Sunny asks Rory for a ride, only to be summarily dismissed. When Sunny mentions that she'll miss the wedding if he doesn't help her, Rory mistakenly believes that she means her own wedding and finally agrees to allow her to share his car. Rory knew that Sunny was trouble with a capital "T" from the moment he met her, and he couldn't have been more right. As they continue to get into one crazy predicament after another, it seems they may never reach their destination in time. But opposites do attract, which means that they may find something even more important along the way.
Normally, I'm a big fan of romance heroes and heroines being stranded together, but in A Snowball's Chance, this theme just didn't work well for me. Unfortunately, the story became a prime example of why I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with the contemporary romance genre. It had at its center one of those insta-lust/love plots that I rarely find believable, and in this case, it was even more implausible than most. The hero and heroine fall immediately in lust with one another right from the moment she accidentally falls into his lap on the airplane during heavy turbulence. Then they both begin thinking how they've fallen in love after having sex one time approximately twelve hours later, and declaring that love within the day. I just found this scenario too far-fetched to buy into, and can't help wondering whatever happened to good old-fashioned relationship building. It also bugged me that they did not engage in any sort of safe sex or even mention birth control which is a huge pet peeve of mine, especially in contemporary romance where the protagonists are virtual strangers.
As to Rory and Sunshine themselves, I never really related very well to either one of them. Rory is a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners, high-powered real estate developer who is trying to get back to Chicago to close a deal on a building that will allow him to keep a promise he made to the grandmother who raised him before she died. The fact that Rory was attempting to fulfill that oath was one thing I liked about him, but of course he's going about it all wrong until Sunny comes into the picture and sets him straight. Rory was also an arrogant alpha who acts like a bit of a caveman when he insists that Sunny call off her non-existent nuptials after their sexcapades. I also had a hard time respecting Rory, because even though Sunny wasn't actually going to marry another man, he didn't know that at that time and essentially, in my mind, became a "cheater" when he made love to her. I guess he mostly redeemed himself though, when he risked his business deal to make sure that Sunny made it to the wedding.
Sunshine is an interior designer who is every bit as exuberant as her name might suggest. I liked her positive attitude but sometimes she didn't entirely seem to be living in reality and was a bit too perky for my taste. She is rather tall for a woman and somewhat Rubenesque in her figure with a healthy appetite to match, which I'm sure some readers will find relatable. Sunny is trying to get back to Chicago in time for her parent's wedding, and a misunderstanding between her and Rory leads him to believe she's going to miss her own wedding. I thought that Sunny's reasons for continuing to allow Rory to believe that fallacy were rather weak, and of course, when the truth came out, it led to some silly bickering. Sunny is also one of those girls who can wrap almost any man around her little finger and get him to do anything she wants without hardly even trying, which made me wonder if Rory wasn't just one of those men who happened to fall for her charms. Overall, Rory and Sunny weren't exactly dislikable, but neither did they stand out to me, and I just wasn't able to buy into them having any sort of genuine, lasting feelings for one another in such a short time.
The entire narrative of A Snowball's Chance takes place in a mere 24 hours. One might think that this would make the pace pretty snappy, but I thought it was rather slow and plodding at times. I think this was owing to Rory and Sunny constantly being delayed, which made it seem like they would never reach their destination or that I would ever reach the end of the story. Admittedly, a string of ridiculous scenarios kept happening to them which I believe were meant to add humor and interest to the story, but once again, I had a hard time buying the idea that the same two people could have that much bad luck in just one day. I'm sure that some readers would find it quite funny, but absurdist humor isn't one of my favorite types. There were a few mildly amusing moments that made me smile, but nothing funny enough to really make me laugh out loud. In fact, having everything be so silly, made me feel like I was watching a B-comedy movie.
In my opinion, the overall plotline was a bit lacking too. I could see how Rory might have a deadline on a business deal, but Sunny's parent's wedding seemed like a rather small affair that they might have been able to postpone until she arrived. After all, one would think that they would want to keep their promise to her, not to mention it was a little odd to still be having the wedding outdoors the day after a huge blizzard. I also felt that there was perhaps too much dialog and too little description. It was sufficient enough for me to generally imagine things, but the settings and the hero and heroine's feelings, among other things, were sometimes rendered in a very simplistic way, when I think richer prose would have enhanced the story. As a side note, and contrary to what the book cover might suggest, A Snowball's Chance is not a Christmas-themed tale, just a cold-weather story that takes place in April during a freak snowstorm. A Snowball's Chance was my first read by Nikki Rivers, and overall, it wasn't terrible, but it didn't exactly float my boat either, which makes me undecided as to whether I will try anything else by her in the future. A Snowball's Chance can be found in the Harlequin Duet anthology A Snowball's Chance/A Christmas Carol.
The Hope Chest Reviews on Facebook