What She Wants by Sheila Roberts

What She Wants by Sheila Roberts
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (391 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

What do women want? Jonathan Templar and his poker buddies can’t figure it out. Take Jonathan, for instance. He’s been in love with Lissa Castle since they were kids but, geek that he is, she’s never seen him as her Mr. Perfect. He has one last shot—their high school reunion. Kyle Long is equally discouraged. The pretty receptionist at his office keeps passing him over for other guys who may be taller but are definitely not superior. And Adam Edwards might be the most successful of Jonathan’s friends, but he isn’t having any success on the home front. His wife’s kicked him out.

When Jonathan stumbles on a romance novel at the Icicle Falls library sale, he knows he’s found the love expert he’s been seeking—Vanessa Valentine, top-selling romance author. At first his buddies laugh at him for reading romance novels, but soon they, too, realize that these stories are the world’s best textbooks on love. Poker night becomes book club night…and when all is read and done, they’re going to be the kind of men women want!

Men are clueless. Men are pathetic. Men are like puppies that need to be trained. But, once they are trained and trained well? Women, watch out because those men become irresistible!

Seriously, think about how long it takes to get any cute animal to do tricks, even if it’s only to sit or beg. Although, begging seems to come naturally to both species. Ms. Roberts takes the time to really show a reader exactly how far from perfect the three men in this story are. They listen but do not hear, they interpret what they don’t understand and jump to conclusions because men know everything – at least, they think they’re supposed to. What Jonathan, the computer geek, Adam, the guy with the hots for a co-worker, and Kyle, the husband whose wife kicked him out, learn during the telling of this story is beautiful. The journey itself encompasses humor, sadness, joys, disappointments, setbacks, hopes, dreams and even more humor. The most impressive element of the whole book is that while the men are learning about wooing women, they’re learning about themselves and what it truly means to be a man.

I thought the beginning of the book was slow. The author took a very detailed journey to express to me the foibles of each man who would eventually become a heroine’s hero in the story. At first I was annoyed that it was taking so long but my advice is to bear with the author. Watch for the clues and continue on. I later realized that without that background, what comes later wouldn’t have had the power to affect my emotions as strong as it did. Those were the warm-up laps like they do in racing. Once that flag comes down the storytelling picks up at a fast clip because each man gets hit with his shortcomings. They’re in shock! They’re desperate! They’ll do anything to win the hearts of the girls they love. And I do mean ‘anything’. That’s where the humor comes in, and a reader gets to see why they’re eventually going to be wonderful heroes. If a man can humble himself to dance with another guy to understand how to dance, if he’s willing to go out on a limb and read something he would never touch with a ten mile pole, and if he’s willing to finally listen to the mushy sappy romantic that he’s buried way down deep inside himself, all for the serious pursuit of a woman, then he’s a keeper. There is hope and a happily ever after is a reachable goal.

Truly, What She Wants is a wonderful, heartwarming story told from the male point of view. When I said earlier that men were clueless, Ms. Roberts showed me just how much in hilarious detail. Their thought processes are different, their ways of dealing with unpleasant things are different and their approach to tackle problems are as opposite from women as night from day. That perspective is what initially interested me in the story but I never would have guessed as to the surprises the author had in store for me. They weren’t all funny. Some were sad and were an effective emotional hook. But there was one element that made this book top notch and that was the identity of a certain person. I never guessed, never suspected the turn this tale took. It was a stroke of genius and I laughed out loud when it was revealed. That twist was awesome. I’m giggling in remembrance.

One scene comes to mind that embodies the journey these three men take. It happens at the poker table. Watch how things progress. Momentous ideas and plans come to fruition during those games. For these men, the poker table is the place where all the significant conversations take place. The poker game was like a snapshot – appearing when the author wanted to illustrate the dramatic growth of each man as he progressed. It was an effective technique and I liked it.

Secondary characters abounded and they were effective in showing off the men’s weaknesses, their strengths and lending a hand when needed. They were personable, affable and made the book read like I was visiting family. Dot was a hoot. Then there were other characters that were not so nice. There were no spies or intrigue in this book. The external conflict comes from real people and the personal politics that can haunt a person long after they’ve graduated high school. For many people bullying can leave lasting emotional scars. The author touched on that too. Ms. Roberts was respectful and in a way helpful in letting people know that some bullies can change, wrongs can be righted or at least healed by reaching out and facing the past. That was another nice touch that made this book so special and emotional.

What She Wants reads like a snapshot of a small town community where the pursuit of love and happiness is just as powerful, poignant and special as one would expect in an exotic location. Anytime people are falling in love is exotic, because no two experiences are the same and there are always elements of the unknown. Reading about falling in love 100% from a man’s perspective was an amazing and interesting experience that I highly recommend. Get to know Adam, Kyle and Jonathan, and a reader will be rewarded with a wonderfully well-written and love-filled romance. Every happy ever after is unique and in this book a reader is blessed with three. I’m very glad I read this book.


  1. Thank you for hosting

  2. Catherine says:

    It’s just such a wonderful premise and image–men’s poker night becoming book club night. They could do pretty well heeding advice from a romance book!

  3. Rita Wray says:

    I would like to be a fly on the wall at that poker game. I can just imagine the discussion.

  4. I cant wait to read this one! Thanks!

  5. Very nice review

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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