I have two confessions to make.
First, I had to look up “cozenage”. I had no idea what it meant. It’s actually a cool little word that means, basically, a con (subterfuge, deception, trickery, usually with a little class and subtlety - think “used car salesman” but not quite “Congress”).
Second, romance novels aren’t my thing. Not that I have a huge problem with the industry, but I usually find them sappy, silly and sloppy. Or at least, I’m pretty sure I would if I read any of them… besides this one.
So now that I’m done confessing, let me get down to it. I read a book called Copenhagen Cozenage and I’m writing a book review of it. I usually don’t do that, but hey, this book was a lot of firsts for me (see confessions above) so I’m just gonna drop this on y’all. As I do, let me be succinct:
I like this book.
Sure, romance novels may not be my thing, but if more of them were like this they might be. The book was a freshman work by author Kristen Joy Wilks, a name you might not know but might do well to remember. She writes well with a light, lively, genuine and very approachable style. Her voice is a good one. She uses plenty of description and color but is not overwhelming. The prose flows nicely in the first person and stays true to character throughout. A cornerstone of this character is a dry, insightful and self-deprecating wit. Even in the most painful and darkest corners of her trials, Morgan (the protagonist) keeps things light and funny. I felt safe in the hands of her personality throughout. It was a nice place to be. She made me laugh.
While the writing was solid, the story itself was what I found… well… romantic. But not in a sappy, silly, sloppy way - more in a surprising, intriguing, face-punching, mystery-at-every-turn, “I didn’t know you could write that and call it a romance novel” kind of way. Yeah, sure there was kissing and heart palpitations and daydreaming about that handsome guy, but there was also comedy, adventure, suspense, intrigue, breaking bones, big slobbery lovable dogs, faith, punching, tackling, disguises, people being locked in a cellar and threatened with torture and death, knockouts, secret backstories, bleeding, surprise revelations and smacking people over the head with stuff. And more. It was sort of a Romancing the Stone meets Beethoven meets True Lies. Wrap your head around that one.
As a total gamer geek, I was also delighted to see a ton of references to all things nerd, such as RPG’s, sci-fi/fantasy flicks and the like. And it wasn’t just passing references, either, like the kind some grasping author would look up on the Internet to fulfill an editor’s whim - this was full-on insider talk, the sort that you can’t fake and that smacks of authenticity as sure as a black t-shirt and a bag full of twenty different dice. At the risk of hitting too close to home, the book smelled like a gaming convention.
On a personal note, I also loved the Christian tone of Copenhagen Cozenage. Today’s fiction often panders to the baser instincts of our culture and character, which is a sad comment on our society and honestly just how far we’ve let ourselves stray from true storytelling. This novel was a breath of fresh air. While we all have a human side that is lured by base content, we also possess a more lofty sliver of soul that aspires to a something more pure - a sliver that delights in passionate love instead of passionate sex, self-sacrifice instead of selfish lust and calling out to God instead of calling out curses. This book has that. It made me feel good.
So to recap: if you’re looking for a fun, funny, nerdy, suspenseful, mystery-romance-action novel with a modern quirky twist, a big lovable slobbery dog, slapstick humor and a punch of passionate Christian wholesomeness, this one’s for you.
And that’s not cozenage.
(Check it out on Amazon and other places around the Web. Romance rules! Did I say that?!)