REVIEW: The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood

Title: The Ideal Man
Author: Julie Garwood 
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Published: August 9, 2011 by Dutton Adult

Dr. Ellie Sullivan has just completed her residency at a large urban hospital. While jogging in a park nearby, she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter’s face, Ellie is suddenly at the center of a criminal investigation.

Agent Max Daniels takes over the Landry case. A no-nonsense lawman, he’s definitely not the ideal man that Ellie has always imagined, yet she’s attracted to him in a way she can’t explain.

Ellie heads home to Winston Falls, South Carolina, to attend her sister’s wedding. Shortly after she arrives, though, she receives a surprise visitor: Max Daniels. The Landrys have been captured, and she’ll be called to testify. But they’ve been captured before, and each time the witnesses are scared into silence—or disappear before they can take the stand. Max vows to be Ellie’s shadow until the trial, and it isn’t long before sparks fly.

The Ideal Man

Why I Read this Book: I was browsing NetGalley when I came across this book. The cover immediately caught my attention (yes, I’m a cover whore). I saw that it was a romantic suspense novel by an author I hadn’t read before so I decided to give it a try. I’m always on the lookout for new romantic suspense authors and I just found me a new author.

What I Liked: The author did a great job at bringing the characters, even the secondary characters, to life. I hated Ava with a passion for what she did to Ellie. The attitude Ava had about what happened and the way she justified it as to not take any blame was just incredulous. I couldn’t believe Ava thought she didn’t do any wrong. I wanted to smack the woman!

There wasn’t a whole lot of mystery in The Ideal Man but it was pretty suspenseful and there was quite a bit of action. There was an interesting twist to the plot that spiced things up – not one but two people are after Ellie and for different reasons.

I like how Max sets up a date with Ellie. He’s a man who knows what he wants and how to get it:

“Are there any good restaurants around here?”

“If you like Italian, you should go to The Hill. There’s a great restaurant called The Trellis. You’ll love it. It’s casual dress. You’ll see everything from suits to shorts.”

“Okay. I’ll pick you up at seven tomorrow night.” He shut the door before she had time to react.


Smooth Max, really smooth. Open-mouthed smile

And Max was straight up with Ellie about his relationship history. He didn’t try to sweet talk her into bed; he just told her how he rolls:

“Any long-term relationships?”

He glanced at her. “Define long-term.”

“More than three months.”

He had to think about it. “No,” he said. “I like women, Ellie, and the women I take to bed know there isn’t going be a long-term anything.”

What I Didn’t Like: I like what Max had to say to the Ellie at the airport in Hawaii, I just didn’t like how he said it. It felt too caveman like. Not smooth Max, not smooth.

The Ideal Man was a fast-paced read in the beginning but when Ellie returned to her hometown, gears switch a bit and the focal point becomes Ellie’s family and their drama. Ellie’s two sisters each stole a bit of the spotlight and at times it was distracting. There was Ava with her pre-wedding drama. Then there was the story arc surrounding Ellie’s other sister, Annie. It felt like the author was trying to squeeze in Annie’s HEA at the very end of the book and it felt a bit rushed.

Overall Impression: The Ideal Man was a 70/30 romantic suspense read – 70% romance, 30% suspense. I prefer more of a balance between the two but the story was still enjoyable to read. I will definitely check out other books by this author.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

3 1/2 Frogs

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. This one definitely lacked any real mystery, but I felt like there was enough suspense to keep me happy. But - definitely heavy on the romance side!

  2. I discovered Julie Garwood because of her historical romances. I don't know that I've read many of her romantic suspense novels, but I definitely loved the historical romance ones she's written.

  3. I have seen lots of reviews for this one lately and it does sound good. Suspense and romance, yay

  4. I enjoyed this one but I definitely thought it was pretty heavy on the romance. It didn't bother me but it was surprising. I hated what happened at the end with Ava!! Oh it really drove me crazy.

  5. I've always loved Gatwood's historical romance...I wish she would write a few more of those! Glad you liked this one enough to try her out again.

  6. Where she is best is within historical romance and is probably my favorite author in the genre, but this one disappointed me. I wish she would stick with the historical she creates such colorful worlds.

    I love her!

  7. Great review and I love your site. I'm a Julie Garwood whore and I've read everyone of her books at least a dozen times. I have this one on the Nook to read this weekend.

    Try her other contemps but start off with Heartbreaker. You will not be sorry. Her historicals are good, too.

    Let me know how you liked her other stuff.

  8. I have been a Julie Garwood fan for over 20 years (shwibg my age?). I loved her historical novels, but had a hard time when she went Contemporary. Soon I started liking her new novels. I so looked forward to this book, but it wasn't up to her usual greatness. It wasn't bad, just not as good. I would recommend any and all her historical novels...especially the Rose series...I think the first one was about orphans,especially the girl, but a few more came out abot the men.


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