Reviewed by: Corina
Approximate word count: 40,000 – 45,000
Availability Kindle: YES Nook: YES Paper: YES
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Kathy Carmichael is an award-winning author of books and writing workshops. She has a few other novels available for your Kindle: Angel Be Good, Diary of a Confessions Queen, and Hot Flash, and several others currently only available in paper formats. All of her novels, including the one in this review, have been well-received, earning average ratings of four to five stars in Amazon customer reviews. You can learn more about this author at her website.
Veterinarian Kelli Palmer comes from both rich and royal bloodlines, making her a target for royalty hunters, and souring her on relationships. That and the fact that her sister brought as her date the cowboy that catches Kelli’s eye convince the animal doctor to keep her distance from rodeo star Bobby Gray Nelson. The problem is, Bobby Gray finds her avoidance of him totally unacceptable.
This novel has characters that are fairly well fleshed out, interesting, and engaging. You care about Kelli, you care about Bobby Gray, and the more the reader sees through their eyes, the more the two go together. The romance between them is easy to visualize, and the attraction is there early on. Kelli fights what she feels for Bobby Gray, he fights to keep her attention, and in and about that dance weave two conflicts that threaten to keep the potential lovers apart.
These two conflicts are what weaken the story experience for me. I was all set for a sweet and fluffy romance, and the misunderstandings that generate the basis for these two conflicts were believable at the beginning, but over time lost all power to compel my compassion. I was with the star-crossed lovers at the beginning, hoping they could win through to love, and at some point in each of the conflict subplots that arose, I wanted to smack one of the characters around and say “Enough, already—talk it out!” There are always those classic misunderstandings in stories that last so long because of pride, because of anger, because of jealousy, and they are usually explained. There is an ongoing development of each character’s emotions, allowing there to be a moment of release of that tension. In both subplots of this story, the buildup of tension was too drawn out and aggravating, the release of tension was too quick, too pat, and eminently unsatisfactory.
The most frustrating aspect of reading this novel is that I can tell that this author is a good writer, with an eye for detail, and yet it felt like she has left this perhaps one draft too early. The final tweaks would bring this light and frothy book up from merely good to I-can’t-wait-for-her-next-book great.
A couple more items that caught my eye are her referring to College Station as “South Texas,” which I, as a South Texan myself, would probably classify as “Central Texas;” and the awkward name “Bobby Gray.” It certainly doesn’t roll off the tongue, as a good Southern double name should. Bobby Joe, Bobby Lee, Bobby Mack, maybe, but Bobby Gray? It just don’t sound right, Ma’am. There is a fine tradition of these names, and this one might even be out there somewhere on a real person. But that still don’t make it sound right. (Excuse my Southern accent, y’all.)
Despite that, the story is fun, sweet, and has moments where I laughed out loud at the image Carmichael painted for me. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to a teen or tween girl who is interested in romantic novels, but I would hesitate to suggest this book to one of my more discerning friends, if only for these issues with the two overstretched conflict plots, and the sudden denouement.
If you are looking for a light, undemanding summer read, you might want to add this to your reading list.
No warnings here. This romance is innocent enough to recommend to girls of any age, particularly if they have a fondness for animals.
No significant Issues
Rating: *** Three stars