Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas
|Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Fairhead|
|Summary: Pleasant chick-lit with an oddly mystical element. Would make ideal holiday reading.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: February 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
It's sometimes said that bad luck comes in threes. It certainly happens that way for Lucy, the rather hapless heroine of this book. First her boyfriend of two years announces that he wants her to move out, because - of all things - he has decided that he likes her sister Alice better. Then Lucy's car breaks down. And then, just as she seems to be dealing with her circumstances fairly well, she is knocked over by a car.
Naturally, there's a hero who comes to the rescue. Sam is an oddly likeable guy, the middle of three brothers who grew up in a severely dysfunctional family. Sam is a wine-maker; primarily a grape-grower, and lives with his older brother Mark and their orphaned niece Holly. Sam is quite a looker, and he's a sensitive guy too, his only real flaw being that he is totally commitment-phobic. Predictably, his first few meetings with Lucy are fraught with tension, despite distinct attraction on both sides. But after her accident, a new kind of relationships starts to develop.
So, classic chick-lit? Well, not exactly. Sam is also portrayed as being decidedly geeky, although I could never entirely mesh that with the rest of his character. A few geek jokes are thrown in, and some geeky tee-shirts described, including one showing a Tardis. It's hard to believe that anyone has not heard of Doctor Who, but apparently Lucy hadn't. It was a sudden, almost jarring reminder that this book is set not in the UK but in America.
Then there's a very strange mystical element popping up now and again. Sam has quite a rapport with plants, and particularly with his grapevines; I could deal with that, although the theme is not really developed very well. But Lucy, who is a talented glass artist, finds odd, almost random things happening now and again when she is in the throes of strong emotion. I don't have a problem with magic in books, but somehow it didn't work. In places it felt like a technique tagged into the story just to move the plot along.
Still, the writing is good, the book very readable, and most of the characters - including the minor ones - well-drawn. Admittedly, Lucy is a bit feeble at times, although her unusual artistic skills make her interesting. But I found myself wanting to know more about Sam's brothers. I was pleased to learn that this book is the second of a series, even though it stands alone very successfully.
As an aside, I was puzzled by the blurb on the back, which has evidently been written by someone who has not read the whole book; however, I liked the plot better than the one which the blurb suggested. I was even more puzzled by several comprehension questions on the back page, asking the reader to analyse various parts of the story, as if it were a GCSE set book. That was off-putting enough that I almost removed another half-star from my rating, but decided not to, since it wasn't part of the story. I have seen this kind of thing occasionally in other American fiction, so perhaps it works in the US.
So, overall I enjoyed this book very much. Eager to find out what happened, I read it in just three days, and will now be looking out for more by this author. It's the kind of book that would make ideal holiday reading, since it's light and undemanding, yet the family situations and relationships are a little deeper than usual for this genre.
Many thanks to the publishers for sending this book.
A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern is another light, women's fiction book with a mystical element.
You can read more book reviews or buy Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas at Amazon.com.
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