Overprotected - Jennifer Laurens Even though I like the happy-go-lucky families in my novels as much as the next girl, I think the fights this family had is what made this 4 stars instead of 3. The reasoning behind Ashlyn's father's--Charles--overprotective nature is what built up the tension for the Adair family from the start. It is only when an "old family friend"--as Ashlyn's mother, Fiona puts it--takes authority of being Ashlyn's bodyguard that things start to go haywire in the family's townhouse on Fifth Avenue.

When Ashlyn Adair started to feel uncomfortable with her bodyguard Stuart, she knew it was time to convince Daddy to let her have her freedom once and for all. But, as per usual, Charles ignores his little girl's wishes--and by this time she's almost eighteen--and decides to hire another bodyguard that'll annoy Ashlyn just as much, Colin Brennen. The strange feeling that Ashlyn gets around Colin hasn't ceased to grow inside her since the last time they saw each other but the bullying that Colin administered when they were younger is particularly unforgettable. This by no means stops Ashlyn from acting out her longing wish of freedom.

Since I've read four other books by Jennifer Laurens and one under her pseudonym J.M. Warwick, and since I loved ALL of them, my expectations were very high. But honestly I was just glad to be able to read another book by her again. When I first read the synopsis for Overprotected, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and when I finally did, it took no longer than two days to breeze through it.

While the romance that slowly kindled between Ashlyn and Colin was passionate and tasteful, I think the core of the plot centered on Ash's familial issues. And there were plenty to be dealt with. All the imperfections that surrounded her didn't deter her determination to fulfill her one wish of freedom. Her love of music and playing the piano with an excellent skill provided the "innocent" quality that others see in her and a humbleness since she doesn't realize her own innocence. For some reason, going into this book, I expected Ashlyn to be more outspoken and rebellious; and while she does rebel against her father when she can find the courage, her subdued demeanor radiates a sense of inborn class. I admired Ashlyn for her individualistic character while in a household that feels more like a cage than a home. Colin wasn't as mischievous as I thought either, but whenever he flashed those intense blue eyes and crooked smile, I could admit to myself that his protective FBI persona was hot.

The writing was not any less addicting than in Ms. Laurens' previous novels, but every once in a while I'd catch myself in the middle of one family argument and had to stop and take note of the impressive manipulative skill that was demonstrated in the conflicting personages of each individual. Charles' irrationality when it came to his daughter's freedom and expression made me reflect on how parents' final decisions can ultimately affect the child--or children--and have their own repercussions.

I would recommend Overprotected for the sole reason that it is by Jennifer Laurens, but for those in need of more persuasion, I'd say to pick up the book because you won't want to miss how one girl separate from the outside world becomes the missing girl everyone in New York is buzzing about.

Grade: B

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