Late Bloomer involves Prudence Parker, financially-desperate, middle-aged divorcee whose life is altered by an offer she can’t refuse. Digby Deeds, author of the successful Savage Passion romance series, is dying and needs a successor. He believes in fate when meeting what could be a version of his dowdy female fans – Prudence – in the latrine before his fan-speech. Deeds asks her to continue his series, giving her a step-by-step formula for the novels. While Prudence is already an award-winning writer, she is of the literary kind, much like Pritchard herself. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when Prudence debases the romance genre throughout. The difference between Pritchard and Prue is that Prue uses Deeds’ formula to formulate the “Savage” books while Pritchard keeps her novel literary.
As fiction becomes reality, Prue co-manages a Native-American charity event with novel research in mind, while handing empowering pamphlets to abused, Native-American women. Here, she meets Ray Chasing Hawk, fourteen years her junior who sees an older woman he can dominate – in bed especially.
Things I liked about Late Bloomer: Prue is a real woman, intelligent in her new-age, feminist approach and unconditionally loving toward her daughter and mother. It is interesting to see the two sides of being a middle-aged female: the self-sacrifice in favor of helping those she loves, and the esteem-lack result. Prue gives her body to her Native-American lover, who dubs near-rape for lovemaking, yet she refuses to give her whole heart, knowing this would be idiocy.
Things I didn’t like: I found it hard witnessing a brightly-insecure, older woman get beat-up sexually by the object of her affection. Plus, Pritchard doesn’t tell the story consistently, veering off into quotes from women's-study sources for intellectualism. Examples are humorous retorts aimed at traditional romance novels. But wordiness is to be expected in the literary genre, and overall, Late Bloomer is a unique insight into literary feminism -- if you like that kind of thing.