Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Summer in Sonoma by Robyn Carr ***

I loved Virgin River, and have kept up with the series, and even read the earlier series that linked in, the Valley one (can't remember). I generally like Carr's characters and writing, although one of the VR series left me cold and so far is a DNF. (I do still have a bookmark in it.)

This book is closer to women's lit than romance - 4 childhood girlfriends, now adults, and their lives and loves. Each one has a different challenge to face - two are single, two married. Julie is married to her childhood sweetheart, but is overwhelmed by their difficulty making his two paychecks stretch to cover their family of five, even frugally. Beth is a single doctor, facing a reappearance of cancer - during the first cancer, her fiance left her. Cassie makes all the wrong choices in men - during her moratorium on dating, she hangs out with the completely wrong kind of guy, or so she thinks. Marty's husband Joe doesn't listen to her, and she thinks her marriage might be over.

I enjoyed reading it, finished it in 2 sittings, but somehow the voice of the book bothered me. She gave almost every character in the book a POV at some point, but every voice was the same. They all sounded the same to me. Well, in my head - it wasn't an audio book. Maybe it's the constant switch from POV to POV, but it just seemed overdone. While each character seems different on the outside, all their thoughts seemed the same - the same voice, the same... I dunno, it just wasn't very riveting or interesting. I enjoyed it but it didn't leave a lasting impression - I just got to the last page and was done. The End.

In fact, I had a hard time figuring out how the 4 friends stayed close with lives so different and needs so different. Julie has to couch dive for pennies to feed the kids - how in the world does she even find time to get together with the others? And Beth, an OB/GYN - Cassie an ER nurse - how can they make their schedules mesh? I dunno. I did find myself understanding Cassie and Marty a little more than Beth (I kept thinking of her as Beth from Little Women...) or Julie. I don't need to feel like I can walk in the shoes of the heroine to enjoy the book - I've enjoyed plenty of books where the heroine was nothing like me at all. But I guess I do need to understand her, care about her.

So, Julie and Billy end up in crisis from their lack of money and another unexpected pregnancy inspite of birth control; Cassie spends a lot of time with the Not My Type guy, but in her head she's pretty much putting him down; Marty fantasizes what her life would be like with an old boyfriend; Beth faces chemotherapy. Yeah - pretty different challenges.

Well that is my take. Women's fiction, ok read, 3 stars. The End.

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