Author: Moriah Jovan
If you're not the kind of reader who would be open to the idea of a story about a straightlaced Mormon bishop who falls in love with a foulmouthed former prostitute, then Magdalene isn't the book for you. But Moriah Jovan is as up front about her subject as her main character, Cassie St. James, is about her past-- she tells us on the very first page that Magdalene is unlike any of the romance novels you'll find on the shelves at Deseret Book.
As a full disclaimer, I don't know much about romance novels. Yeah, I've read a few LDS offerings for the Whitneys, but they're never a genre I pick up on my own, and I'm probably too chicken to head into that section of Barnes and Noble for fear that I'll pick up something pornographic. This book definitely had its, ahem, descriptive moments. And I liked them.
I think that the biggest strength of Magdalene is that the kid gloves are off-- the Mormons in this book are flawed, some of them probably more than they needed to be for the sake of the story (Trevor swears in just about every sentence he utters, and just a few times would get the point across just as well). I also think that because Jovan doesn't make most of the characters seem overtly holy, the ones who are truly good (like Prissy and Louise) are more believable. In general, I thought her characters were pretty believable. Unfortunately, the only exceptions were Cassie and Mitch. I know that Cassie tries to be hard but she's really a big softie inside, but the crying/allergies thing started to wear on me after a while. And Mitch? Seriously? He is one complicated man-- like Bruce Wayne and Batman and Steve Jobs and Mitt Romney all rolled up in one tight-assed little package. I wanted him to be a little less surprising, a little less perfect. It would have been nice if he had bad breath or something to knock him off his pedestal. The extensive corporate talk in the first few chapters were also pretty boring (and did, in fact, made me consider abandoning the book). But I persevered, and my quibbles really are pretty small. I consumed this book greedily, and put it down with some extra tricks up my sleeve, if you catch my drift.