Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book Review: "A Touch of Chardonnay" (Pamela Gibson)

Lindsay Reynoso is the single mom of a darling eight-year-old boy, Nicky, whom she loves very dearly. Her work as a cultural archaeologist requires a lot of travel, and it's on one of those trips where she's working to evaluate a beautiful old mansion in California that she runs into a man from her past she hoped never to see again ... Christopher Brandt, formerly a tennis star and now a land developer, who also happens to be Nicky's father.

Trouble is, Chris doesn't know that last part.

Chris wants the mansion Lindsay is evaluating torn down. Even the sight of the place, which had been in his family for decades, is enough to drive him to anger over the memories of his nightmarish past. She's standing firm, though, and he finds his work convincing her to just sign for the demolition cut out for him.

Who knew that such a beautiful woman --- for their attraction is still very real --- could harbor so many life-changing secrets?

Entangled Publishing's Bliss imprint presents the sweet small-town romance A Touch of Chardonnay, part of the A Love in Wine Country collection, by Pamela Gibson.

Small-town romances are some of my favorites in the romance genre, simply because of the brilliant use of atmosphere and setting as not only a backdrop to the story but also, often, even a very real character of sorts in the plot's progression. In this story, though the small town could have been a much more active and central part of the work, Lindsay (as a character) works to make up for the difference.

She's part of a huge, loving family, which does feature relatively prominently in the story. The family traditions and expectations of which she's a constant part (and has been as long as she can remember) work to underscore what Chris does not have in his own life. The juxtaposition makes Chris a sympathetic character and Lindsay an enviable one, especially for those who might not have come from such a close family as hers.

Beyond that, though I appreciate the premise and was fascinated by Lindsay's work as a cultural archaeologist, the novel fell flat for me. Very little seemed to happen --- not that a small-town romance requires thriller-type elements like car chases or explosions or what-have-you, but there just didn't seem to be enough at stake for the characters, or perhaps they didn't want things badly enough.

Further, a lot of what did happen was thinking ... Lindsay thinking about her son and her past and the impact of Chris's presence on her and her son's future; Chris thinking about his past and the mansion that represents everything he hates about it. The long, involved inner monologues didn't do enough to move the story forward for me.

While relatively well-written and peopled with characters for whom it was easy enough to cheer, A Touch of Chardonnay simply didn't keep my interest the way other small-town romances have.

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Author: Pamela Gibson
Title: A Touch of Chardonnay
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Bliss)
ISBN: 978-1-63375-365-5
Purchase here: http://amzn.to/1SwEmRF

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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