"The Ideal Man," Julie Garwood

Pros: Fun characters & story
Cons: Some aspects to the writing that pull me out of the story a bit
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group


Dr. Ellie Sullivan, a trauma surgeon, has just finished her residency at a major hospital. She hasn’t even figured out where she’s going next, however, before she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent. Witnesses around this particular set of criminals have a tendency to go missing, and before long Agent Max Daniels finds evidence that Ellie is in danger. He follows her to South Carolina, where she’s visiting family for her sister’s wedding. It doesn’t take long before everything goes to hell: Bullets fly. An old classmate of Ellie’s who stalked her years ago puts in an appearance. Ellie and her sister clash over everything. And as for Max and Ellie—well, there are sparks of a different kind between them! He might not match her image of the ideal man, but somehow they just can’t stay away from each other.


Julie Garwood’s The Ideal Man is a straight-out fun read! There’s enough suspense to give it tension, but it’s still light enough for traditional summer reading. The characters are mostly straightforward, but their interactions have depth to them, particularly on the part of Ellie and her family members.

Naturally there’s some tension between what Ellie wants to do and Max’s desire to keep her safe. However, this didn’t devolve into the traditional plot where the woman keeps taking stupid risks and the man insists on virtually locking her in a closet. Both characters have some common sense about the issue, which is a great change of pace. I found each one’s frustrations to be entirely understandable.

I only had two, very minor issues with the book. Some of the writing is on the tell-not-show side, meaning that things I’d rather see described or shown in dialogue get summed up in a bit of bald narration. Also, there’s a side plot involving Ellie’s other sister that I wanted a little bit more follow-through and detail on; it didn’t get enough page space for my tastes.

Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the tension, chemistry, sex, and action!

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