22 Indigo Place by Sandra Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is one of my sister's favorite books, which always makes me want to read a book, since she has good taste. She's usually not wrong about the books she raves about. The other night, I decided to give it a read, since it has a flower on the cover, I needed a pure, happy romance book to get my mind off of darker thoughts, and it would meet my Spring challenge. I was glad I did. I love the old school romance books. They seemed to build up the romance story in a more believable fashion. As well as the chemistry. I must say Sandra Brown did a great job. She built up the sexual tension expertly in this book. Each scene and interaction, both in the past and the present, showed the attraction between Laura and James. Their kisses and caresses escalated that tension until they consummate. I miss that feeling of expectation of when they finally will do it, instead of the more prevalent insta-sex of today, which really just makes the romance fizzle before it begins. After they have sex, what's the point really in reading the romance? I like the romance to come first. But that's just me.
Other things I liked about this book:
*There is something about Southern-set books. The ambience of that location, with all the societal aspects, the simmering heat, and the conventions of Southern folk. I could smell the gardenia and honeysuckle, taste the sweet iced tea, and feel the humid breeze against my skin. It is a clever metaphor for the heated sexual attraction between the characters that is burgeoning right under my eyes as I read.
*I love books where the H/h knew each other growing up, although they didn't get together, merely flirting around, or having the unconsummated attraction that will culminate when they reunite later on as adults.
*The bad-boy made good storyline: Although I didn't like the snobbery that Laura showed initially against James, I liked the dynamic of Laura and James having been in different social spheres. James was the son of the town drunk, and Laura the daughter of one of the town's more prominent families. James was pretty much like James Dean in the old 50s movies, a greaser with a bad attitude. But he was always a hard worker, just dealing with more pain and rage than a young man can carry and still have peace in his heart. It was good he shook the dust of his hometown off his feet and set off to make a life for himself, and his fortune. And he created his darling little girl, Mandy, who needs a mother. Good thing Laura is there to fill that job. James had a master plan of coming back to his hometown and making a good reputation for himself. Laura's found out that her father left her a mountain of debts and has to sell her house. It's a heartbreaking decision for herself, especially when she has to sell it to James, who she doesn't think is good enough for it. Things change in her thinking, and I was glad that she was able to open her heart and mind (although James had always been in her heart, even if he was way 'too bad, too experienced, too everything' for her). James sure has a way of bringing a girl around in her thinking. James has some revising of his views to undergo too. He wants a perfect southern maven wife, and doesn't need love or passion (at least not with her). He thinks Laura will fit the bill, until he realizes how much passion she has inside, and how much he feels for her. I think Ms. Brown did a good job of showing how James and Laura got to know each other past the misleading perceptions of each other they had (fostered by a society that is way too fixated on such things), and realizing how much they loved each other.
There was a lot to love about this book. I takes me back to the golden days of contemporary romance that I sincerely mourn nowadays. I've read a few of her older books, but I guess I should have paid more attention to Sandra Brown's contemporary romance. Now's as good a time as any.
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