Soul Mate Publishing
e-book and Paperback
November 26, 2012
Provided by NECRWA for Contest Judging.
No Remuneration exchanged and all opinions [resented herein are my own.
When tough battle-scarred photojournalist-turned-wildlife-photographer Lacey Sommers travels to Costa Rica in a last-ditch effort to save her job, she meets beach-bum-gorgeous Luke Hancock, an outdoor guide, environmentalist and expert on economics and sustainability, who’s been hired by her magazine to serve as her pilot and wilderness guide for the duration of her stay.
It’s clear from the outset there is a powerful physical attraction between the two, but strong personalities, pre-conceived notions, an unexpected and contentious family connection, and the scars from a tragic death and a terrifying event threaten to keep them apart.
Will Lacey shed the mantle of Kevlar she’s worn for so long and allow Luke inside her heart? Or will her ostensible strength be her downfall?
I found this book offered complex themes about love, fear, trust, and healing. The characters were a bit "to type:" committed bachelor beach bum whose really a successful scholar and war/photographer who is afraid of commitment for professional reasons. These contrasts in character are a convention in the romance genre. What isn't pat is the problems she faces getting over PTSD and how she has cocooned herself to avoid processing the cause. But is falling in love going to save her from herself?
Heflin brings lots of travel and nature interest into the story, with good research. It made me view Costa Rica as a lovely vacation possibility. But, both that and Lacey's war experiences lead to some eco-fair-trade-war -is-bad preachiness. A "cause" is okay in a book when the preaching isn't obvious. Here it is a bit on the obvious side. Maybe a rule of thumb could be that if you have to write a paragraph on the cause rather than have the feeling of caring about a cause arise naturally through the feelings, experiences and observations of the characters then you are preaching. Personally, I don't want this presented to me in my romance novels. Romance is what I read to escape from the horror of humanity's crimes against itself and the planet. What about you? Maybe there's a place for issue driven romance but it's not often going to find its spot on my bookshelf.
There is enough in the personal problems each character faces to prevent the book from just being a boy meets girl, boy loses girl romance.
I did find myself wishing I were as adventurous and daring as the heroine though. It would be fun to hike through rainforests and such. But, I am a big wuss on that front. I will hike a concrete jungle, but the lack of a little girls room will send me the other way!
The romance in the story is nice although the set-up is obvious. The degree to which the couple comes together and falls apart is a little too much: not for what the actual situation would require, but for this book's story line. Each person in the couple have hair triggers too. It's the kind of volatility that dooms a relationship to failure. It works out too easily at the end with a rather soap-operatic scene.
I would class this as moderately steamy romance. It was a pleasant read with good location atmosphere and decent research. It lacked a bit of magic or, maybe the magic was lost in the ecological and anti-war sentiment. If you ae looking for something quick to read it was enjoyable but not the best thing I have read this year. I would have added more sheet time and less call to activism.
Rescuing Lacey at Amazon
At Barnes and Noble