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Hooked    by Jane May order for
by Jane May
Order:  USA  Can
Kensington, 2007 (2007)
*   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

An assistant dock master at an exclusive Miami yacht club, Clarence 'Woody' Woods is an expert at handling million dollar boats. That same confidence and skill doesn't extend to women though. Problems arise when Woody falls head over heels in love with Madalina Dragoi, a beautiful Romanian waitress at the yacht club. To make matters worse, the club is swarming with wealthy young men. Unable to compete with their polished charm and pricey lifestyle, Woody finds help from an unexpected source when he catches an enchanted fish.

Jane May's latest book, Hooked, tells a story based on The Fisherman and His Wife, a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. Similar to the old story, in return for releasing this talking tuna, dubbed The Prince, Woody is granted all the wishes he desires. When the fish offers to help Woody woo Madalina, the sailor jumps at the chance. His wishes are simple at first - an afternoon sailing date with Madalina and getting his old pickup truck fixed so he can drive her home without needing jumper cables.

But as Madalina gets a taste of the lifestyle this scaly magical genie can provide, things begin to spin out of control. Soon she is prompting Woody to ask for a penthouse suite, a mansion, and a job in real estate that would make Donald Trump jealous. And although Woody adores Madalina, he wonders just whose dreams he's fulfilling as his new complicated life takes him away from the sailing and the simplicity he loves.

In Hooked, Jane May weaves a quirky romantic fish tale. It doesn't quite match the description on the cover however. There's a mistaken name and a story thread that's missing within. Woody's story, however, despite being a predictable ride with simple characters, is an amusing, clever one. Does Woody want to live his life driving a Porsche and wearing a sweater draped over his Polo shirt? Or does he want to pursue his dream of fixing up his boat and sailing around the world? Caught between Madalina's extravagant ideals and a magical fish's one-track mind, Woody is forced to rethink just what is important.

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