If Wishing Made It So

Lucy Finn
2008, Fantasy Romance
Signet, $6.99, 304 pages, Amazon ASIN 0451224590

Grade: B
Sensuality: Warm

If Wishing Made it So is a light and funny second chance at love story. It's a textbook example of a pleasant summer read - nothing out of the ordinary, but good for several hours of fun.

Hildy Caldwell was the smartest girl in high school and was voted the one most likely to succeed. However, circumstances have slowed her down. Hildy had to take care of her mother during a long illness and she’s gained a few (okay, ten) pounds. Rather than traveling the world and indulging herself, Hildy has spent her time fixing up her little house and teaching high school – she even has cats. Dating? No, Hildy hasn’t gotten over her high school love, Mike Amante, and most of her dates have been disappointing. Hildy's ten year high school reunion is coming up and unless she makes some changes, she will be voted class failure.

So Hildy takes her small savings and rents a house on the Jersey shore. She thinks she will get a tan, have some fun, some relaxation and who knows? Maybe she’ll meet a nice, handsome guy and forget all about Mike.

Things look up for Hildy when she wins $3,000 while playing the slots. She also picks up a pretty brown glass bottle, and figuring someone lost it, plans to turn the bottle into the lost and found. Things really begin to look up for Hildy when she runs into Mike. Mike is ever so happy to see her again and is just as charming and even handsomer than ever, but just as things are going along nicely, his beautiful but nasty tempered girlfriend Kiki shows up, putting a damper on Hildy’s good mood.

When she gets back home, Hildy discovers a man in a toga ensconced in her cottage who turns out to be the genie in that pretty brown glass bottle. His name is Antonius Eugenius and he was a Roman centurion before being sealed in the bottle by an Egyptian magician in the court of King Herod. Tony G. (his nickname) turns out to be equal parts helpful and meddling, especially when it comes to Hildy’s relationship with Mike. Mike really, really wants to leave Kiki and he’s never forgotten Hildy. Also Mike really, really wants to change his job (Kiki is not in favor of that) and become a private detective. Hildy still loves Mike, but she isn't ready to settle for second best. Plus the gangster who originally owned the bottle in which Tony G was imprisoned wants it (and Tony) back. Needless to say, complications ensue (in spades)!

If Wishing Made it So is so light it’s practically written in meringue, but it’s sweet and funny and will please almost anyone who isn’t a terminal grump. Hildy is wonderfully likable since she’s about 98 percent sensible and two percent kooky rather than the other way around. Mike is nice enough, but he isn’t very believable. He’s supposed to be a big real estate mogul a la Donald Trump, but he acts so meek and beta minus (especially around Kiki) that I wondered about him. One doesn’t get to be a magnate like The Donald by being polite, kind and letting one's girl friend order one around.

No matter – this is still a fun book, but I have to point out one very, very big error. When Mike is test driving a new car (a Prius?! Now is that the kind of car a private eye would drive?) he puts in a CD and begins to sing along with Bruce Springsteen’s song about being born in a small town. No, no, no!! It’s John Mellencamp who sings about being born in a small town, the Boss sings about being born in the USA. I hope a sharp eyed editor catches this – millions of Jerseyites will thank her.

-- Ellen Micheletti

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