Tuesday, December 18, 2012

“Season of Joy” May Be The Best Debut Romance of the Year! RT 4 ½ Stars!

"Season of Joy" Offers All the Good Feelings of a Romance with the Power of a Realistic Mainstream Best Seller!

Love Inspired
Publication Date: Nov 1, 2012
Years ago I would have said that “Season of Joy” was too good to be an author’s first published novel. I don’t say that any more. It is so hard to break into print at the biggest publishing houses (like Love Inspired –whose books can be found in nearly every Wal-Mart) that often an author’s best book is her first book.  “Season of Joy” is such a book. I expect it to win many distinguished awards during the next year. It has already been nominated for RT’s  2012 Best First Series Romance. That's a great start.
 Future Award Winner!
“Season of Joy” is a strong contender for any writing award because it has the impact of mainstream realism. That is, it deliberately transcends the customary romance genre conventions.
“Season of Joy” is the type of romance that highly literate romance fans (often English professors) select to show their friends who read only 'so-called' literary quality works.  Many critics love books like “Season of Joy” because such books are so demonstrably excellent. It is not hard to spot such a romance. “Winter’s End” by Ruth Logan Herne and “Autumn Rains” by Myra Johnson were immediately identifiable as very realistic works that would go on to garner their share of laurels.
“Season of Joy” is an inspirational romance. It is about changing one’s life for the spiritually better. It is also about taking chances. The heroine, Calista, takes the biggest chance. She volunteers to work at a homeless mission. No job is too lowly for her to do. This is a big deal because she is a success-driven CEO of a growing company she pioneered. Her single-minded pursuit of success has left her without any real friends and a cat who hates her.
The hero, Grant, has his life in a holding pattern. He needs to change his life but he just carries on letting his devotion to his job, as director of the homeless mission, keep him from thinking about having a real life with a wife and family. He has a strong hostility towards his father. He did not choose to change his life as Calista did. Grant has change thrust upon him.
The character of the hero and heroine plus the quality of the writing can best be shown by the following quotes.  ('He' is the hero, Grant and 'she' is the heroine, Calista. )
“She wasn’t the CEO here, {at the mission} she was just a woman who had lost her place in the world.”
“A huge smile creased his face and Calista’s mouth fell open at the transformation. He was a good looking man, but add in a dash of pure joy and he was breathtaking. She tore her gaze away and met Lana’s laughing eyes behind the desk. Of course, the secretary would think it was hilarious how women fell all over themselves in his presence.”
“He seems really good with the kids. Does he have any of his own? She suddenly wished she could snatch the words back out of the air, especially since it was followed by a snort from Lissa.”
“Calista felt her hear sink. Then again, she wasn’t here to get a boyfriend or find true love. She was here because her life had become a self-centered whirlpool of ambition, with her swirling around at the bottom like a piece of driftwood.”
“Is there a kid version of catnip? If there is, you must be stuffing your pockets with it.”
          “Nope, I just listen to them. It’s funny how many people forget that kids need someone to hear them,” he said, his words serious, but a grin spread over his features.”
“But there was only so far you could run from yourself. Then it was all about facing your fears and being bigger than your past.”
“Every time a friend tells me that I’d be great with someone, I know it’s doomed.”
“Now, if she could just get everyone else to give her a second chance at being a decent human being, then she’d be all set.”
“You’re not a terrible human being. You’re just not very approachable. Or sympathetic. Or caring about anybody’s personal life. Or..”
          “All right! I got it.”
“And she is not one to believe a lie. But when the heart first loves, it only sees perfection. With time, the love remains but the heart knows the truth – no one is perfect. Only God. That is what I mean.”
“A strange sensation had crept over him while she spoke. It was a mix of yearning and dread, of excitement and fear. He felt as if he were standing on the edge of a cliff.”
“She was done investing time and effort into projects that didn’t make her happy. The mission made her feel useful, and she’d made friend there.”
“But nothing would be able to get past the fact that she believed in the power of the almighty buck and he didn’t.”
 ***   ***
There are so many good quotes in “Season of Joy” that it is a joy simply to see what the author is going to write next. None of these quotes give away the plot. Much of the writing is rewarding in itself. There are psychological insights as well as playful descriptions of falling in love which so thrill fans of romance.
“Season of Joy” is a wonderful book that is sure to go on to win much praise and success. Its strongest point, its mainstream realism, (the author endlessly researched homeless shelters all over the country) also provides its only weakness -- and that only as an inspirational romance. As in real life, the ending comes with many unresolved issues. The major inspirational challenge may actually be in a worse situation than when the story began. (At least in regards to one of the main characters.)
Yes, readers will enjoy their HEA (happy ending) but it does come with an asterisk. Yet, I can’t imagine any genuine inspirational romance fan not loving this book, “Season of Joy”.
I hope there are many more seasons of joy to come from this very talented debut author.

Enjoy Romantic Happiness with a Realistic Flair!

1 comment:

  1. What?? I never saw this! I didn't even know this was here!

    Vince, you sly dog, you!

    Thank you so much!