Mark and Jessica met the summer they were sixteen. It was only for six weeks, and when Mark’s father was transferred they lost touch: the families moved, email accounts were changed, both of their fathers died in combat. Not hearing from her, he felt she no longer care for him. Not hearing from him, she felt he had abandoned her.
Ten years later, Mark tracks her down. Jessica lives in Dahlonega Georgia where she operates a wildlife rescue center and cares for her niece and nephew while their widowed mother works. When they meet, the attraction is instantaneous. Unfortunately, Jessica is engaged to be married.
This is the type of romance novel that I truly enjoy reading.
The story is believable and the characters are lovable. Jessica is just the type of girl a young man would like to date; Mark is the type of young man that everyone likes. So often in romances, the guy is a “bad boy,” and I find myself wanting to tell the woman to “turn and run, run fast, run far.” Not in this book. Here, the reader is pulling for them both to be happy.
The writing is excellent. The story is set in a small city in northern Georgia and the reader has the feeling that the author has lived there and knows the city and its people well. You can easily imagine the fiddlers on the square, the houses where the people live. The dialogue is realistic. The author does not resort to dialect (I hate dialect!) but still conveys a sense of place─ I knew I was in the rural South.
The love scenes are soft and sweet, and they arise from the story. Too often, in romance novels they are the reason for the story and all else revolves around them─ when in doubt, toss in sex. In this book, the romantic scenes make sense; the story leads up to them; they advance the plot; there is more to life than romance; there is more to romance than sex. The love scenes seem real, too. There are no wild, raunchy scenes and no explicit descriptions. (I tend to laugh when authors include too many details.)
Beyond presenting a good story, the book raises questions, important questions, in this case, questions about love and marriage. Jessica loves Blake, her fiancé. He is dependable; he is smart; she enjoys his company; he will take care of her. With Blake, love does not include passion. Jessica loves Mark. He is adventurous; knowledgeable; she enjoys his company. On the other hand, she has no idea what he might want to do two months into the future. Passion is a given when she is with Mark.
Can you love two people at once? Who would make a better husband?
It’s early in the year, but I feel certain that this book will be one of my favorites.