Wednesday, July 2, 2008

True Confessions by Rachel Gibson *****

Ahhhhh - another great book by Rachel Gibson! A 5-star keeper for sure.

Hope is our heroine - she's a freelance writer. Well, ok, she writes stories about aliens abductions and Bigfoot for a weekly tabloid, but hey - she knows it's fiction, and she's good at it. She's had a sort of run-in with a dwarf, the model for Mickey the Magical Leprechaun, and she's also having serious writer's block, which motivates her boss at the paper to send her on a 6 month sabbatical of sorts, to Gospel, Idaho. However, she keeps her employer a secret mainly because people try to give her story ideas - it's easier just to be vague about who she writes for.

Gospel's sheriff is Dylan - he grew up in Gospel, and left after high school for the big city lights of LA, where he was a homicide detective for several years. But he wasn't happy in LA, and he got custody of his young son and moved back home - leaving the kid's momma in LA, working as a TV actor.

Gospel is a small town where gossip rules and weirdness is a virtue, by the way. Truth is stranger than fiction here - Hope soon realizes no one would believe her if she wrote about the actual residents!

Hope has some other secrets she's not quick to share with strangers - one is her 7 year marriage to an LA plastic surgeon which ended when he divorced her for her best friend, who was 5 months pregnant with his child. Since Hope had a hysterectomy at age 21 (which he knew), that was the only way he would have children, and she figured they were better off divorced.

Dylan has a secret too - no one knows that the actress in the popular Christian show has an illegitimate son who is being raised by his father - the two never married. If their secret is revealed, she could lose her audience, so mum's the word on Adam's mum.

Of course, there's sparks all over the place when Hope and Dylan get together. Dylan is the most eligible bachelor for 70 miles - he's single, straight and has a job - so the women in town are pretty open with their admiration. He's not keen on starting anything with any of them, including Hope - a conviction that pretty much goes out the window whenever he gets within 10 feet of her. She's not keen on starting a relationship either - for one thing, it would be temporary, and she's not one for sex without commitment. But she loses her conviction to stay away every time he loses his...

The story has so many laugh out loud moments - all the odd characters in Gospel, and Hope's ongoing conviction that she (who writes stories about aliens) is the only normal person around. The buildup of the sexual tension between Hope and Dylan is gripping - Gibson's story grabs you and makes you think this is it, then throws an obstacle in that douses Hope, Dylan and the reader with a blast of ice water. Then there's Dylan's son Adam, who hates all the women throwing themselves at his dad, but develops a relationship of his own with Hope, not seeing her as going after his dad. Adam is holding on to the fantasy, however, that his mom (the angel on TV) and dad will get back together.

The sizzling hot love scenes are pretty wonderful, and being inside Dylan's head when he's thinking about Hope had my eyes rolling back in my head in lust, I'm afraid.

But what really got me was the true emotions I felt while reading the story - how caught up I got in Hope's head when she thinks Dylan has rejected her and is feeling nothing. So, yeah, I laughed, I cried, I felt - and I think this had the most romantic moments of any book I've read so far. When Dylan tells Hope he had to show her the most beautiful spot in the world because it reminded him of her, welllll I about melted away.

Yep, it's a 5 star keeper/re-reader for me.

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