Verdict: Joseph Wurtenbaugh’s THURSDAY’S CHILD is a wholly enjoyable modern romance built on a framework of timeless myth and fairy tales. Fabled kingdoms rise from the legal battlefields of 1980s Manhattan, while the damsel attempts to save the male hero in distress.
Brilliant young attorney Adele Jansen has landed a world-changing assignment that’s bound to make her a partner at a prestigious Manhattan law firm. She’s also met the man of her dreams, a tough-yet-tender poet who unleashes Adele’s most wanton womanly desires.
What’s the problem?
Dream lover, Tom Newcombe, is a troubled genius with a major case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from an abusive childhood. He’s incompatible with Adele’s fast-track lifestyle, so she breaks it off after one museum date and a night of passion. But Adele is drawn to investigate Tom’s mysterious past, and her journey brings her face-to-face with nightmares, madness, and terror.
Adele’s epic quest is at the heart of Joseph Wurtenbaugh’s THURSDAY’S CHILD: AN EPIC ROMANCE. Wurtenbaugh skillfully avoids the cliche of a female protagonist longing to “fix her broken man.” Adele just wants to understand, and make her broken man happy. What more could a broken man ask for?
How does Adele know she’s truly in love? Her career goes down the toilet. She takes her eye off the prize, and gets played like a pawn in an elaborate chess game of high-tech corporate takeovers. With deft prose and pacing, Wurtenbaugh imbues the staid worlds of patent law and computer coding with passion and vigor. Manipulation and mistrust is mirrored in Tom’s own abusive past, giving this novel a scope beyond its pages. Art lovers and intellectuals will find meaningful metaphors in Tom and Adele’s museum stroll; the rest of us get to discover words like fungible, helot, and concupiscence (a legal term for “swap”, a serf in ancient Sparta, and lust, respectively).
THURSDAY’S CHILD is a sexy romance for smart people. Wurtenbaugh believes brainiacs make the best lovers, and there’s no denying the chemistry between Tom and Adele…and Adele with every other male character. Falling in love creates an inner glow that’s a beacon to other lonely hearts, and, in addition, to her troubled Mr. Right, Adele also has flirtations with Mr. Damn Close, Mr. Pretty Good, and several Mr. No Ways.
Adele doesn’t trust her raging libido around alpha males, and her suppressed sexual (and artistic) desires run like electric currents throughout THURSDAY’S CHILD. Wurtenbaugh’s sex scenes are detailed and steamy without being course or gross. There is a fairy tale quality to THURSDAY’S CHILD, with the Manhattan law firm subbing for a kingdom, and the big National Association of Television Program Executives convention (NATPE) standing in for the grand ball.
THURSDAY’S CHILD wraps up nicely, blending myth with gritty realism. Adele’s courtship may be immortal, but you get the feeling she’ll be forever plagued by doubt and fear. It’s not easy loving a demi-god, but Adele both understands and accepts the challenge.
~Rob Errera for IndieReader