Review: The Dividing Line
The Dividing Line by Victoria H. Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
**Reviewer was given this book in exchange for an honest review**
Dividing Line is a very different book than The Space Between. The “against all odds” romance has given way to real life challenges for Drake and Lacey.
Living in Paris together but not cohabitating (which I thought was just weird considering Drake moved and was virtually penniless), Drake and Lacey find refuge in one another as they adjust to life abroad. Lacey’s show is successful and she’s developed a bit of celebrity, but she tries to remain humble. Drake is muddling through life in Paris. He works a menial job and plays the role of supportive boyfriend to Lacey. The book’s synopsis plays up that Drake is eclipsed by Lacey’s rising star, but I didn’t get that feeling. What I felt more was that things were out of order for Drake, and that boiled down to him not being the primary breadwinner (his chest beating is minor, he’s actually gracious about it all). Throughout their time together in Paris, their youth and inexperience took center stage in their relationship. From the outside, Lacey and Drake look like a balanced team, but they’re not. Why they don’t live together, even after almost a year in Paris was difficult for me to grasp. Neither of them professed to follow any dogma, and they certainly had no problem being sexually active, yet they took issue (Drake took issue) with them living together before marriage. And Lacey became a knowitall mother hen-type.
I have to say, I wasn’t feeling Lacey in this book. There was a change in her that I don’t think had much to do with character growth. This is, without a doubt, Drake’s book. Things kind of “happen” to Lacey and are swiftly resolved. I don’t feel she’s much of an active player; her presence was not missed by me when the story focused on Drake.
In a series of way too coincidental events, Drake finally admits that he’s unfulfilled in Paris and wants to go home. Lacey is obligated to her show and lets him go.
I enjoyed reading about Drake’s adjustments to inner-city living. What I didn’t like was that this book was much more overtly smutty than the last, the language more coarse. Ms. Smith’s delivery in the first book as a welcome change of pace. Sure, their relationship matured, but I got tired of hearing about how horny they were.
Although I liked spending time with Drake, the middle of the book dragged. Especially when Lacey was again the focus. Insert a suave and handsome new costar for Lacey, and a quirky cutie for Drake. There was one misunderstanding and missed connection after another; I wondered when these guys would just call it quits altogether. The pacing of the events that went on during their separation read like months, not a few weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the theme of the book–Drake’s self-discovery, learning his identity, coming to terms with who he was. I would have truly enjoyed reading more. Lacey just didn’t help the story. She became a set piece.
During their welcome home party, there was reference to a mystery visitor that Derrick and Drake were to keep Lacey away from. I figured out who that was right away, and was left waiting quite a while for him to finally catch up to her. This was supposed to be suspenseful and emotional, but it read like a standard trope to me. I have to give it to Ms. Smith, though, what begins as predictable has a few twists; however, the expected end still is reached, it just takes a little bit longer to get there.
After all is said and done, tears shed, losses counted, victories tallied, and truths told, everything wrapped up too tidily for me.
This book has MASSIVE potential to be thought provoking and moving, but I had a difficult time staying with it. The writing quality ebbed and flowed. The Space Between was a much better executed book, but Dividing Line had a better story, although the plotting and pacing were off.
I want more story. I want more character growth. I just want more.