When I read the plot synopsis for Trespass – Sarah, our heroine, after having been on the run for three weeks, shows up at Russ’, our hero’s, doorstep with a buckshot wound in her side – I assumed that this would be Meg Maguire’s first foray into Romantic Suspense. As it turned out however, there was even less suspense here than in her previous novel, The Reluctant Nude – there is some minor mystery about the reason why Sarah, the female protagonist, is on the run, but the reader can guess quite early on at what is happening and how things will play out.
There is not really any suspense plot at all, and Sarah’s past serves only to provide a framework for her and Russ meeting and to motivate her betraying him. What the novel is really about is two people slowly falling in love with each other – or more precisely, falling in love quickly, then breaking up even faster and finally slowly learning to trust each other again. In other words, this is very much a character-driven novel – but then, that is true of all good Romance novels.
And a good Romance novel Trespass undoubtedly is, even if it does not quite live up to the author’s excellent The Reluctant Nude – it relies a bit too much on external paraphernalia (the pseudo-suspense non-plot) to keep things moving where the earlier novel developed everything out of its protagonists’ characters.
Trespass did have a lot more sex, though (at least a lot more than I remember The Reluctant Nude having), and there you can really tell that Meg Maguire’s alter ego is a writer of erotica – the sex scenes are without exception very yummy indeed (although I couldn’t help but notice a certain overuse of the word “harsh” which I found a bit grating, especially considering that this isn’t a BDSM novel). There is one scene I particularly loved, the one where Russ and Sarah are each masturbating simultaneously in different rooms – it is one of the extremely rare instances where head-hopping between characters makes sense, in this case achieving the literary equivalent to a split-screen. In fact it might be the best instance of it I have ever seen, and what is usually a clumsy and awkward device becomes a striking and brilliant technique in Meg Maguire’s skillful hands. This scene could be used as a textbook example of how to do head-hopping right… if it wasn’t also so damn hot, which, I imagine, would rather distract from its didactic usefulness.
Trespass is a Romance novel that is going to stick in my memory, for the vivid characterisation of its protagonists and the equally vivid description of the sex they have with each other. After my experience with Weekend Agreement a while back, I’m starting to think that memorableness (or should that be memorability?) would make an excellent indicator for the quality of Romance novels, and according to that yardstick, Trespass would achieve quite a high ranking.