Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
You’ll like this if you like: Characters with a Complicated Past, a Brooding Hero with an Artistic Streak, or a Comical Hunt for DNA (without alerting the subjects that they’re being tested, of course).
Cleanliness: The hero and heroine kiss once or twice (shocking, I know). Aside from that, the heroine’s promiscuous past is mentioned several times, and during much of the book, she’s trying to use DNA tests to discover who her daughter’s father really is. During one such occasion, she tries to pick a hair off of the hero’s slacks, who’s one of her daughter’s possible fathers, and goes about it by pinching his thigh. I found this scene pretty comical, because the hero is obviously going to misinterpret the heroine’s actions.
Hero type: Brooding Hero
Favorite profound quote:
“Anyone can change if he or she really wants to and has enough faith…
But those are the keys, want and faith.
How much you have will determine the degree of change.”
Favorite descriptive quote:
“His deeply soft voice affects my senses like a long velvet dress
floating down over my head, rippling across my torso, and skimming my legs.”
Maggie Pickwick is a lifetime away from her days as head cheerleader and the mistakes she made in high school. Twelve years later, this single mom has traded pompoms for an auctioneer’s gavel, popularity for peace and quiet, and strives to be a good example for her daughter, Devyn. She’s keeping it together just fine, too—until an old flame moves back to her little North Carolina town.
Renowned artist Reece Thorpe wants nothing to do with Maggie—not after what she did in high school—but he might also be Devyn’s father. Driven by her own pride and fear for her daughter’s happiness, Maggie finds herself on a slippery slope of white lies as she attempts to convince Reece that she’s changed. But the truth has a way of making itself known, and now Maggie’s past and present mistakes could ruin her chance at love.
This book was even better than the last Southern Discomfort book. Maggie and Reece’s past complicates everything. Maggie is determined not to fall for him again, just as Reece is determined not to fall for her. They’ve both changed over the years, and neither wants to return to their mistakes.
And then there’s Maggie’s daughter, Devyn. Devyn is such a fun character–an adult inside of a twelve year-old’s body. This conversation between Devyn and Maggie (after Devyn shares how a cheerleader has bullied her) summarizes Devyn perfectly:
“How did you respond, Dev?”
“I told her to stop being’ a stereotype, and she said, Stereotype? So I spelled it for her, defined it, supplied a few synonyms, and said that just because pompoms are her life doesn’t mean she had to be plastic like them. Or as skimpy in the brain department as her skirt.”
Devyn has an urge to have a father figure in her life, but Maggie isn’t convinced a man is the best idea–especially in light of her past mistakes. But Maggie wants to confirm who the father is as well, so throughout the book, she’s on a hunt for DNA from three different men, resulting in a few comical instances, like the one mentioned above.
I’m still in awe of how Tamara Leigh writes such unique characters and flavors the narrative with their personality. This is particularly noticeable in her contemporary romances, but I’m still a sucker for how she writes her historicals–with kidnappings, murders, and a romance that looks like it’ll never work. 😉 If contemporary romance is your thing, try this book for a spell. Overall, this is a romance light enough for relaxation, but suspenseful and angsty enough to keep you turning pages.
Other books written by Tamara Leigh:
What are your favorite elements in a romance? Do you like it when the hero and heroine meet each other for the first time in the book or do you prefer them to have a past?