RC supplied by author.
I hadn’t read any of Jackie’s books til she contacted me after reading my review of a fellow authors’ books that were similar standalone romance. I loved the first one I read, Eye of the Beholder, so eagerly moved on to the second. And I wasn’t disappointed. Jackies’ books are something different from the romance novels currently flooding the kindle market – they are romance but with a good back story, with some sensual sex scenes that fit the plot, and each with that definitive extra that makes a five star read for me. They’re not about teens – fun though they are I want to read older people finding romance too, sometimes I think most authors write as if anyone over 21 can’t enjoy a romantic fling or find love. Jackies’ books ( the two I’ve read so far anyway ) feature older people. This time it’s Fletcher who’s in his late 30’s and Cleo who I think was around 30.
the characters in this book are great, Cleo, repressed all her life by her grandmother who she lived with along with her single mother. Her mum died young, and grandmother then raised her. She blamed Cleo’s mum for having her unmarried, called it sinful and brought Cleo up to regard anything faintly sexual as sinful, and to be avoided at all costs. Cleo escaped into a marriage that didn’t work out, she wanted escape her gran, he was looking for cover for his sexuality. She felt she’d failed, and after the divorce was once again escaping when her gran died, avoiding facing up to the reality of her life. She was travelling in a camper van, taking photos and writing articles for publication and on a whim turns onto a small fishing camp and meets Fletcher and his family….small things can have a huge impact on life and this changes hers…
Fletcher is staying with his close friend and wife, and their two young children. for the summer. 11 year old Katie is dying from cancer, she knows it and the way she deals is just so incredible. She needs to talk, but knows her mum is avoiding facing her death so she slowly manipulates Cleo, Fletcher and Big Momma, camp owner as confidants by getting them to help plan her demise and what will follow. Its a bitter-sweet read, she’s so funny and yet so poignant too – it really shows what the impact of a serious illness does to a family, and how we all cope in different ways. Wrapped up in this humour and sadness is the slow romancing of Cleo, its hard to think anyone could write romance along with Katie’s situation but this book does it perfectly. Fletcher is the consummate bachelor, saw his parents unhappy marriage and decided he was definitely not going down that route. He mocked his married friends and even went so far as to write a tongue in cheek book, telling men how to stay in control if married…then to his shock one of them turned the tables and published it, setting his reputation into print. Of course Cleo hears about it and it reinforces her resolve not to let him get close. Still, slowly Fletcher wears her down, not realising that he’s getting himself straight into the situation he’s avoided for so long. Usually women fall at his feet, he has the looks and the charm so he’s nonplussed when Cleo doesn’t, and not sure how to progress, but her appeal to him is such that he just can’t give up. Thankfully he doesn’t and we get some incredibly hot, sensual scenes, sexual but not smutty, erotic but not uncouth, its all beautifully written.
I felt I was there in the book, staying at the camp and living among the visitors. Its got such a feel that I almost imagined the characters as people I knew. They made me laugh, especially Katie and with her situation laughing is something you’d not think possible. I cried when things went wrong, sniggered at the silliness of some situations, and loved when Cleo and Fletcher finally got together. Even that was one step forward two back though, because of Cleos’ upbringing. They’re a couple that on paper should never work and yet they do. There are a few characters that only fleetingly appear and yet the detail to them is just a good as Jackie has written for the main ones.
If you love your romance with a beautiful and well thought out story, your characters to be older than teens/twenties, and sex to be sensual not crass then this book is one for you. If book three reads the same way, and I hope it does, Jackie will become one of my favourite romance authors. Priced at £2.68 for 232 kindle pages its excellent value and is one for my keepers files for re reading.
Stars: five all the way!
RC supplied by author.