Friday, August 9, 2013

The Best of Times by Anita Stanfield

The Best of Times (The Dickens Inn, #1)

Chas is a young and beautiful Mormon widow who lives with her grandmother in a Victorian style bed and breakfast.  One stormy night a handsome middle aged man arrives at the inn.  He says he is looking for peace and quiet, but what he seems most interested in is spending time with Chas.  As they become acquainted, Chas learns that Jackson is on administrative leave from the FBI because he was involved in an incident that lead to another agent's death.  As Chas helps Jackson come to terms with what is going on in his life, and Jackson helps Chas work through unhappy things in her past, they fall deeply in love.

OK, this is not my normal genre, but I am still trying to expand my horizons in reading material.  Anita Stansfield is the most prolific of all LDS romance novelists. Though I haven't read any LDS romance fiction since I read the "Charlie" novels back when I was a teenager, Ms Stanfield's novels are so popular I decided I should read one just to be a well informed member of my social subgroup.  As I started to read the book, there were two things I liked right off.  One is that the main character, though influenced by her attraction, was not dominated by it.  She thought through the situation and made a conscious decision whether she wanted to open her heart to new man in her life.  The other, was that I knew, because of the genre, that there would be no steamy love scenes I would have to skip over.  It was a little awkward reading about Chas (a female) praying over problems, and seeking inspiration for everything, but then I reasoned, that is what I would have done in the same situation.  I must admit that I was quite enjoying the book at the beginning.  It helped me get through much house work with a smile.  But as I read (or listened, since it was a recorded book) on, and Chas and Jackson faced one external challenge after another with love and support for each other, it just got to be too much.  It was like eating an extra bowl of vanilla ice cream--too sweet and too much of the same thing. Still, I am not going to say I would never read a Anita Stansfield book again, but I would have to be in a particular mood to do so. (286 p)

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