August TBR: Sundays at Tiffany’s, Courtship Dance, Marriage Spell

This month’s focus for the TBR Challenge organised by Keishon requires us to pick a book by a new author or an author we haven’t read in a while. I have just the books that fit this theme, and which would help reduce the review backlog.

First up is Sunday’s at Tiffany’s by James Patterson, writing in partnership with Grabielle Charbonnet. The novel started off with a cliff hanger with Michael racing to the hospital to attempt to save someone from reaching death’s door.

August TBR: Sundays at Tiffany’s, Courtship Dance, Marriage Spell

The story then continues with Part One, a flashback to Jane’s lonely childhood and her relationship with her imaginary older friend, Michael, ending with him leaving her. Part two recounts the series of events leading up to the beginning of the story. An older, wiser Jane who’s a now a movie producer, but had never truly forgotten Michael, is reunited with her one true love finally. But love’s path never did run true smooth … one of them is dying. And it would take a miracle to bring about a happy ending.

To appreciate the story arc and the message this contemporary romance conveys, you have to suspend all belief in logic, the tangible and visible, and just go with the imagination and the flow of the story. It’s a very sweet love story that makes no apologies about expounding on the transforming power of love, and the purity of a lover that transcends time and space. If you’re looking for an uplifting, empowering love story, suspend the cynic in you and read this book!
IMB rating: 3.0

It’s been a while since I read a Candace Camp book, the last being The Wedding Challenge, the third in the Matchmaker series. The Courtship Dance brings back familiar characters from previous books, one of whom is Sinclair, the brother of the heroine in The Wedding Challenge, and the main reason why I picked up this book.

August TBR: Sundays at Tiffany’s, Courtship Dance, Marriage SpellYou see, I was more interested in his getting a happy ending than the thick-headed misguided Francesca, the matchmaker and playmaker of the entire series. 15 years ago, she broke off her secret engagement to Sinclair, due to a BIG misunderstanding orchestrated by a spiteful and conniving social climber. Torn by guilt now since she learnt the truth in the previous book, Francesca is determined to apologize for not believing in Sinclair those many years ago, and to make amends by finding him a suitable wife. Sinclair played along with her just so this excuse will throw them together, and reignite the small spark of passion that has always been between them. Once dormant feelings are uncovered, and misgivings are explained, the story proceeds in the usual way.

Delightful as this story may be, there were times when I felt like strangling Francesca for not using her usually bright intellect to really see the situation. It was a little out of character and I wasn’t too enamoured of her behaviour. There were some clichés in the plot which made the story development predictable, but the hero saved the story for me.
IMB rating: 3.0

Mary Jo Putney is another author that I’ve not read for a while, and recalling that a fellow reader listed The Marriage Spell as a DIK on AAR, I simply had to check it out when I chanced upon the book in the store.

August TBR: Sundays at Tiffany’s, Courtship Dance, Marriage SpellSet in an alternate Regency universe where some members of the gentry are gifted with magical abilities, this book is more romance than magical fantasy, although spell weaving, fighting evil wizards and the supernatural are included as plot points. Abby and Jack entered into a marriage of convenience when gifted Abby healed Jack from a fatal accident.

As the couple settled down to build their lives together, several discoveries were made which dispelled Jack’s mistrust of magic and wizardry, and prepared him for the final confrontation with the resident evil in his homeland, who had been siphoning off and draining all happiness amongst his family and dependents without his realising it.

Having no memories of her previous works, I was able to get past comparisons to her older, and more emotionally grounded works, which Janine at DearAuthor found missing in this novel.

Make no mistake. This is a romance novel and not a fantasy work. I was able to enjoy the book for the excellent period flavour and rich detail, as well the down-to-earth characters and their self-deprecating humour.
IMB rating: 3.5