Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
You’ll like this if you like: Flawed, Ex-Military Heroes, Scandalous Secrets, or a Career-Driven Heroine Who Doesn’t Think She Can Get Caught Up in a Whirlwind of Romance.
Cleanliness: The hero and heroine kiss once or twice. The first time, the heroine is “engaged to be engaged,” meaning she’s kind of in a relationship with this other guy, who’s hoping to propose to her at some point.
Hero type: Virtuous Hero
Favorite profound quote:
“A man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
Favorite descriptive quote:
“I walk out into the morning air, and I’m struck by the beauty of Uncle Obe’s garden and the scents that wend toward me as if by way of a calligrapher’s pen–the extravagant sweep of sweet lilac and spicy virburnum, the bold stroke of spring roses and glorious magnolias, and the subtle curlicues of spearmint and basil.”
Piper Wick left her hometown of Pickwick, North Carolina twelve years ago, shook the dust off her feet, ditched her drawl and her family name, and made a new life for herself as a high-powered public relations consultant in Los Angeles. She’s even engaged to be engaged to the picture-perfect U.S. Congressman Grant Spangler.
Now all of Piper’s hard-won happiness is threatened by a reclusive uncle’s bout of conscience. In the wake of a health scare, Uncle Obadiah Pickwick has decided to change his will, leaving money to make amends for four generations’ worth of family misdeeds. But that will reveal all the Pickwick’s secrets, including Piper’s.
Though Piper arrives in Pickwick primed for battle, she is unprepared for Uncle Obe’s rugged, blue-eyed gardener. So just who is Axel Smith? Why does he think making amends is about more than just making restitution? And why, oh why, can’t she stay on task? With God’s help, Piper is about to discover that although good PR might smooth things over, only the truth will set her free.
After all of the non-fiction I’ve been reading, I devoured this book, though contemporary romance isn’t my favorite. Piper’s a fun character with a lot of spice. I have so much to learn from Tamara Leigh’s writing and how she crafts such unique character POVs. In every book, the character has flair that spices the narrative differently. For Piper, her public relations job shapes a lot of things–especially her reading of body language. Quite frankly, Piper can be pretty unlikable and selfish at times. After all, the main reason she goes to visit her uncle, which interrupts her busy L.A. lifestyle, is not to comfort him, but to make sure he doesn’t reveal family secrets that could damage her reputation in public relations. Of course, she’s still likable in others way in that she’s unique and relatable. And she has a positive character arc, so she doesn’t remain selfish for the entire story.
And then there’s Axel. With a name like that, you know he’s going to be attractive. Axel has a flat character arc, so he begins this story with principles and morals firmly in place. Even when Piper staunchly disagrees, he stands firm on his principles, and eventually when Piper starts following similar morals, it makes for the perfect romance between them.
But early in the story, Piper is determined not to fall for him. Not only does he have a noticeable hitch–which doesn’t actually detract from his attractiveness–falling for him would also mean agreeing with his inconvenient principles and staying in Pickwich, of all places! Throughout the story, there’s this constant push and pull between them. The sparks added by this friction make for the perfect romance to enjoy over a weekend.
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Do you like reading romances on weekends? Do you usually read during the week?
Tamara LeighFebruary 13, 2017 - 6:11 pm ·
Thank you for the lovely review, Elizabeth! Smiling big 🙂
Elizabeth NewsomFebruary 14, 2017 - 4:42 pm ·
My pleasure! Thank you for the wonderful story 🙂