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Posts Tagged ‘Southern Romance’

THE HIDEAWAY: A First Novel ~Lauren K. Denton

Monday, April 17th, 2017

THE HIDEAWAY turned out to be a hard story for me to review.  I need to start with my disclaimer:  I worked in Alabama for a short period of time.  I was never in my life treated as rudely by the people of Alabama in my entire life.  I met several amazing women and lawyers while I was there, and I left with lasting memories of heat, sweat and unhappy human beings – I will never forget and this story was about some of those kinds of people.

We have a sweet Southern story about a lovely retreat location called Sweet Bay.  THE HIDEAWAY is two love stories, one from long ago; you know, the 1960s and one more contemporary.  It is the perfect beach read and the author loves reading at the beach.  She knows her locations.  The read is slow, interesting and well paced for a leisurely afternoon.  The early characters are charming and a bit rebellious; they are developed throughout the whole read as the stories go from Grandmother to Granddaughter chapter to chapter.

“When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.”

Maggie was a good Southern white girl and she married for money and then found out that her charming spouse was sleeping around.  After three years of this kind of abuse she packs her car and leaves for somewhere else and discovers THE HIDEAWAY.  There she discovers her work in caring for the house and the B & B tenants, who are primarily artists.  The house is losing money for the owner who leaves it to Maggie in a whirlwind departure.  Maggie falls in love with a woodworker who builds furniture.  She is loyal to the end of her life to her love and THE HIDEAWAY.

Sara lives with her Grandmother Maggie but does not appreciate her differences and her unique rebellious nature.  She discovers her Grandmother’s truth as she spruces up THE HIDEAWAY leaving her home decorating business to a friend’s care in New Orleans.  She falls in love with a carpenter.  Lots of wood and tree descriptions fill the story and the reader wonders casually about the synchronicity or the symbolism wrapped up in the “beauty” of it all.

TLC Book Tours  sent an advanced copy of THE HIDEAWAY for review.  It was an early PDF copy and it needed more editing.  My favorite blooper in the copy I received – made me laugh out loud!

“Mitch sat in the chair next to me, emptied when the previous occupant excused himself to go to the ladies’ room.”

I did not care for the main contemporary character – Sara.  She did not have the spunk or charisma of her Grandmother and she was just so sweet she nearly dripped with her charm.  She could not really connect with her Grandmother and did not try – though she appeared to like her and phoned her to check in sometimes – she feels entitled.  Sara is totally dependent on the males in her life to make decisions except about furniture and remodeling.  She has no depth perception – not a clue.  Everyone needed to help her right to the end.  I am sure she voted against women on her ballot; Sara needed men.  I know several folks who will like this book very much, I on the other hand was happy to come to the last page of THE HIDEAWAY

Lauren K. Denton:

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. The Hideaway is her first novel.

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Related:
Everything We Keep
Where We Fall
My Sweet Vidalia

WHERE WE FALL: A Novel ~Rochelle B. Weinstein

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of WHERE WE FALL for review and I enjoyed reading this book.  Very nice Southern Romance with a good premise.  I lived for several years in North Carolina and YES, the countryside is amazingly beautiful and written about with style in this story.

The story line is good and interesting and the descriptions just right to encourage a visit to the beauty of North Carolina.  It is a Southern Romance within the tradition of Southern Romance and providing   a creative story concept making it quite interesting.  We have 2 women friends who are looking to be connected to a man who is the perfect Southern Gentleman.  We all want to be loved and to love.   We have the perfect gentleman character, who is a prize catch and also a high school football coach.

Abby and Lauren are college roommates and best friends.  Ryan falls in love with Lauren and the three become great friends.  Lauren and Ryan share that kind of perfect love and are probably “soul mates”  – a nice touch.  Abby has problems with social anxiety and enjoys being the “fifth wheel” in their amazing friendship.

Lauren shows some spunk and determination to photograph and see some amazing waterfalls.  She takes a graduate program and then takes off to photograph the world’s waterfalls.  Ryan is being patient with her travels and endeavors until his Father dies and he is devastated.  No one can get a hold of Lauren, in time.

Abby takes over the role of caregiver and Ryan and she marry and have a daughter.

The novel is full of missed communications and omitted discussions.  Friends do not share with each other, mother and daughter do not have real conversations and Abby’s anxiety begins to control her life and she ends up with a full deep mental illness.  It takes all of Abby’s ability and control to enter a mental health facility and within six weeks the lives are changed and a loving resolution is possible.

As I was introducing myself at a new class, we all shared our favorite reads, I noticed that 6 women stated that this was their favorite kind of read and how they liked the escape.  This book should find some good readers.

I found the writing elementary in style and found several sentences that just seemed random within their paragraphs.  I did receive an uncorrected e- copy, but these slips just stopped the flow.  Dialogue was quite good and moved the story well.  I felt sad that the daughter was repeating the “perfect man” scenario of her parents even though she was so young.    Lauren and Abby both seemed rather boring and Ryan was just too perfect and responsible.  The characters could not change; they were just stuck in the behaviors they had chosen – locked in.  It took pills and a therapist to get them to resolution and to move into their best interest.

“Rochelle B. Weinstein is the author of THE MOURNING AFTER and WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND.  A former entertainment industry executive, she lives in south Florida with her husband, twin boys and two dogs.“

www.rochelleweinstein.com

As I write this review the Kindle edition of WHERE WE FALL is free on Amazon.

Related:
Becalmed
Trail of Broken Wings
Our Love Could Light The World