Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Decent Sequel

This year I've read several romantic books written by women.  The forward of this book made me think that this book was going to have a lot of romance in it--"To my wife, Cindi, my one and only love and inspiration behind any and every romantic thought I've ever had."  I was curious how it would be similar to and different from romantic fiction by women.

Back in December, I read the first book in this series titled The Unfinished Gift.  It was the first novel by Dan Walsh and I was impressed that it was written so well for being his first novel.  The end of that book did wrap a little too neatly and quickly for my tastes, but all in all I enjoyed the book a lot.  The sequel is titled, The Homecoming.
I knew that this book would pick up where the first left off and the first does portend a relationship between Katherine and Captain Collins, the two main characters.  And indeed that is at the crux of the plot for the second book. 

In this story, Captain Collins comes home.  He has reconciled with his father and their relationship has begun to heal.  His son, Patrick, is home safe and sound.  Then he gets assigned to a War Bond tour and needs a nanny for Patrick.  He asks Katherine, the social worker who had helped Patrick when his mom died, to be that nanny.  She says she will and the story goes from there.  All of this is explained on the back cover, so I don't think I'm giving too much of the plot away. 

This book is classified as historical fiction, but I would probably call it romantic historical fiction.  There is enough of a story outside the romance of the characters, but it is an ever present thick thread through the story.  It is a lot like a made for tv movie. 

So here are my thoughts...
The Story:  Good, not amazing, but good.  The story is a lot like a good romantic made for tv movie that you might watch on the Hallmark Channel.   

The Writing:  The writing is good.  This is where this book differs from how a woman would write a romance.  There is a gentleness about their relationship and descriptions that help you picture the scenes, but the writing isn't gushy or overly flowery the way many Christian Romance stories written are today.

The Romance:  If you enjoy reading romance stories, I would definitely recommend this one over others I've read this year.  It doesn't exaggerate how men and women look at each other and it doesn't go near the fine line between romance and lust.

Strengths:  It is an easy book to read.  The story and characters are engaging.  I read this book in 2 days. 

Other thoughts:  The one facet of this story is how quickly the relationship between the Captain and Katherine progressed--all things considered.  (sort of a spoiler!)  I don't know if people got married that quickly back then.  I do remember that my great grandmother had 3 husbands (2 of them were brothers) in a matter of a few years.  So, maybe the mourning period when a spouse died back then was shorter then.  

In Conclusion:   Though parts of the plot weren't always believable to me, I enjoyed the book and thought it was a good book for one of those nights when you want to curl up and forget about life and read.

Please note that I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review.

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