Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words
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After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica Lucke Dean moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180 lb lap dog, and at least one ghost.
For more, visit the author's website.
“Banker Katie James has a serious thing for romance novels. She’d almost rather settle for a fictional boyfriend than risk her heart on a flesh-and-blood man. Besides, the only real guy she’s remotely interested in is her rich, unattainable client, the mysterious Cooper Maxwell.
Looking less like the ultra-conservative man she knows and more like a drop-dead sexy character from one of her books, Cooper crashes Katie’s 29th birthday party. But one too many drinks lands Katie in uncharted territory… Cooper’s bedroom!
Drunk on love, Katie dives headfirst into the relationship only to discover that Cooper is keeping secrets… dangerous ones. As if things couldn’t get worse, her meddling mother makes a surprise visit, digging up a whole new set of problems.
Who would have guessed having an assassin for a boyfriend would be the least of her worries?”
Romance novels have a basic formu … no, let’s call it something else. Time tested patterns. The basic blueprint is boy meets girls. Sparks fly (or sometimes just the opposite at first, but the sparks come before long). Then, we have the big misunderstanding (probably due to poor communication) and the couple seems headed their separate ways. Last, something causes them to realize they misunderstood each other, get back together and, go riding into the sunset. (Actually that last part is a Western. I wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Replace with “live happily ever after”)
But really, all novels fit a pattern. We’re so aware of it with Romance because of the relatively small number of templates for a novel; this is by far the most popular one. However, this means that for the story to feel fresh, an author has to come up with great characters and situations. They need to feel like real people. The situations have to be realistic. In To Katie With Love, Erica Lucke Dean came up with some great characters.
Katie is a character who should feel familiar to a big part of the target audience. In fact, many will see something of themselves in Katie. Other than the obvious gender difference, I did. She’s an avid reader, introverted, and will often choose a vicarious adventure in a romance novel over the alternatives on her social calendar. The people she works with are quirky, yet real enough to remind me of past co-workers. And her bank job gives her plenty of chances to meet men with both money and looks, especially the mysterious Cooper Maxwell.
The situations Katie gets herself into seem almost larger than life, yet not so much as to have me disbelieving. I was surprised multiple times as the story was working its way to a conclusion, never guessing the answer to the big question every reader is going to have by that point, nor guessing how (or even whether) Katie was going to get that ride into the sunset.
A small amount of adult language and some mild adult situations.
No significant issues.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Rating: ***** Five Stars