March 13, 2012

Review: Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas


Confession time! I do not like Ms. Kleypas’ historicals. I don’t know why, but they just don’t work for me. However, her contemporary romances are some of my favorite books in the world, so I couldn't be happier right now because we’re getting not one, but two new contemporary novels this year.

Rainshadow Road is the newest book in her Friday Harbor series about three brothers trying to raise their orphaned niece (more like one brother raises her, one helps and the other drinks). The heroine’s name is Lucy Marinn. When she was little, her baby sister, Alice, got meningitis and ever since then their parents became very permissive with her. While Lucy was asked to behave and reprimanded when necessary, Alice could do no wrong, she was never grounded and always got what she wanted. Flash forward to the present and what Alice wants is Lucy’s fiancĂ©, Kevin. So when Kevin ends their engagement and asks Lucy to move out of their home so that Alice can move in, Lucy is devastated but not surprised. 


Lucy and Alice’s parents are not happy about the whole mess and don’t want to pay for the wedding. Kevin, thinking that if they see Lucy happy they will reconsider, asks an old business acquaintance to seduce Lucy as a favor to him. Said acquaintance turns out to be Sam Nolan, one of the brothers I mentioned above (the one who helps) and hero of the story. What Kevin doesn’t know is that Sam has already met Lucy and it’s quite smitten with her. So their actual courtship has nothing to do with this attempted-deception, and all to do with Sam being a commitment-phobe and Lucy wanting to heal and to stay away from guys like Kevin and, well, Sam.

This is a very sweet contemporary romance. In fact, it’s everything I love about contemporary romances: boy meets girl, girl is weary of boy, boy is weary of love, boy and girl overcome their issues and live happily ever after. There’s an obvious external conflict, in this case Alice and Kevin, but the real obstacle resides within the main characters, and how they deal with it in order to have a normal and healthy relationship.

I have mentioned before how I hate heroines who embark in no-strings-attached sex when all they want is go steady, and this book flirted a bit with that, but Ms. Keyplas knows what she’s doing and gives us a heroine who actually knows herself and avoids mistakes like that. Lucy is weary of guys like Sam, is aware of how appealing he is and how much he can hurt her, because he obviously doesn’t want a serious relationship, so she tries to stay away from him. She doesn’t succeed, but when things get ugly, she admits that she is in part to blame for her own heartbreak. I liked her very much and I think you will too.

Sam was a nerd wrapped in a hunky package. Nothing new there, but he was a swoon worthy hero and I loved how honest and caring he was. One would think that the whole business with Kevin would lead to the big misunderstanding, but the reality couldn’t be farther from that. In fact, how he handled that part was my favorite thing about him.

This book has a slight WTF element, because there’s a bit of magic in it, as in contemporary romance with a paranormal touch. I don’t mind paranormal touches in books, but I do when they come out of left field. This is book two in a series, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor was shorter than Rainshadow Road, and came out more than a year ago, but it is book one in the series. That book had nothing paranormal about it, not even a clue about what was to come. So why do this now? It’s confusing and will alienate some readers. Having said that, I thought the paranormal aspect was cute, it didn’t add anything to the plot and I’m still wondering why it was there, but it didn’t ruin the book for me. 

Overall this is a sweet contemporary romance that I’m sure fans of the genre will enjoy. There’s nothing special about it besides wonderful characters and a lovey romance, but despite the surprising addition of the paranormal element I’m dying to read the next book (about the brother who drinks), ghosts and all. 

Review by Brie
Grade: 3.5
Sensuality: McSexy

Synopsis:

Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington.  She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal:  her fiancĂ© Kevin has left her.  His new lover is Lucy’s own sister.   Lucy's bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life.   Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy's parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to "romance" Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life—even after being broken—can be made into something new and beautiful.

St. Martin’s Griffin. February 28, 2012.

19 comments:

  1. Oh I want the next book too. Alex intrigues me SO MUCH!!! :)

    I liked this one. Not my "normal" romance but I really enjoyed it.

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    1. He is so tormented and angry, I like it!

      If by your "normal" romance you mean not enough sexy times, you would be right! LOLOL

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  2. Funny how authors have a tendency to add ghosts in their contemporary novels. Are ghosts that romantic? LOL.

    I refused to read Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor on principle. I didn't like the fact the book was short story length wrapped in a HC with HC price. However, I might read Rainshadow Road because it doesn't suffer from the same issues :)

    So I'm glad to see you enjoyed it :) By the way, you don't read a lot of historicals right? I haven't seen many on the blog :)

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    1. Oh! I didn’t make it clear, the paranormal aspect isn’t a ghost, that’s for the next book, in this one the heroine turns glass into living things and there’s a second, even more WTF part but it’s too spoilery to tell.

      You’re right about Christmas Eve, that book was way too expensive, it was more about paying for the author than the actual story. But I loved her other contemporaries so much that I didn’t care. Also, that book was better than this one IMO.

      You’re right, historical is my least favorite genre, and I used to only read historicals so I don’t know what happened, but we lost the initial passion and decided to get a divorce, but it was an amicably split and meet once in a while for old times’ sake, I have reviewed some historicals.

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    2. Ohhh, okay. That's an even more unusual power then ^_^; And you say there's an even more WTF part? LOL.

      I think I'll try get my hand on Christmas Eve eventually. And I know your feeling about not minding shelling the money for certain authors :) I'm the same way.

      LOL, it's funny how things evolved. I used to not read historicals anymore... but at one point, you just don't have a choice because there aren't as many contemporary/RS books coming out as historicals in my opinion :)

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  3. I have one of her historicals on my shelf to read. I'm a nit wary now that I know you don't care for them but here's hoping I love it. This one sounds like a cute and cozy read for a lazy day. I'm beyond curious to know how lucy works our her relationship with her backstabbing sister. Though I have to say her sis' attitude is a direct result of her parents nepotism....not cool. Sounds like it has all the elements I love in a contemporary romace. Great, in-depth review!

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    1. Nooo!! You should read the book, I’m just not a fan of historical romance in general, but everyone else loves her books, in fact most of her readers prefer her historicals, that’s how popular they are.

      I think you will like this book, but if you haven’t read her previous contemporaries you should read Blue-Eyed Devil, it’s one of my favorite books in the world, I adore it! LOL. Nothing to do with this one, even the narration it’s different.

      And I agree, the evil sister is that way because of their parents, but you get to a point in your life where you should stop blaming someone else and start taking responsibility for your own actions.

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  4. Brie, this book sounds so adorable. I don't read nearly enough contemporary romance, clearly. I may have to go add a few of this author's books to my TBR. I love books like this that are linked through various family members/etc having their own books. I'm glad you liked this one for the most part!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

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    1. If you like linked books you should read more contemporary romances. This genre loves books connected by friends/siblings, loves them! If you see a contemporary romance trilogy, chances are the leads are connected! LOL

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  5. Brie...I totally agree with you on accountability. I say that all the time about REAL people in my life who at their age still blame all their problems and issues on someone else and take no responsibility for their actions. At some point, you have to grow up and own your shit no matter what happened to you.

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  6. i had no idea that this was a sequel for Friday Harbor. I just read that book a couple months ago & liked it, but I like it more now that I know it's part of a series. I do like Ms. Kleypas' historicals & Friday Harbor was my first contemporary. I shall add it to goodreads!
    also, i agree about the magical element. it's weird that there was nothing about it in the first book and now there suddenly is? i will read it anyway. :) ~dixie

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    1. Yep, that's book one and the hero and heroine of that book get married in this one, so you can look forward to reading that. Let me know how you like it!

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  7. I love Lisa Kleypas but I too really dislike when paranormal elements come out of left-field. I'm definitely drawn in by the premise.

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    1. At least now you know so it won't come as a surprise and maybe you'll enjoy it!

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  8. Would you believe after all that Lisa Diva hoopla that I signed up to do to help promote this book... I STILL haven't bought or read it? I definitely want to read it.. I read the first three chapters and was hooked. I'll get to it..

    Like nath, I'm not keen on ghosts in stories.. especially in romances. So idk about the next book... it had better be REALLY good! lol

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    1. WHATTTT!?!?! Bad fan-girl, bad!! LOL.

      I think the next book is going to be good regardless of the ghost because the hero is the most complex and tortured of the brothers, this guy has some serious issues so that alone guarantees an interesting book. I'm not so sure about the ghost but it may not play such an important role in the story, I think she's going more for subtle magical realism than full-on paranormal (nothing subtle about a ghost, though).

      Anyway, it all comes down to trusting Ms. Kleypas' talent and that is something I definitively do.

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    2. I know. It felt so good to confess that. LOL!

      I think you're probably right about the ghost in the next book being more subtle--not that the heroine is a ghost! Please .. I can't go that route in romance.

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    3. Like in one of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books?! LOLOLOL Have you read that one?! The heroine ends up as a ghost, I still laugh every time I think about it. I can only deal with that level of WTFckery once in my life and that was it! But don't worry, the heroine isn't a ghost, read the book so you can find out who it is!!!

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The books reviewed here were purchased by us. If the book was provided by the author or publisher for review, it will be noted on the post. We do not get any type of monetary compensation from publishers or authors.