Monday, February 1, 2010

The Best of Times, by Anita Stansfield


Yes. I know! Yet another LDS novel! I'm sorry. This book club is just not daring and most of them are older ladies who can't take a much more uncomfortable plot twist than "will he ask her to marry him or not?"

I have never read one of Anita Stansfield's books before. I had heard her name, so I thought she had to be well-known/well-read but I just about didn't read it once I got a few pages in and realized this was yet another LDS book. I'm trying to go for variety here. And then after the first chapter it was obvious it was another romance.
Sigh.

Okay. At least Anita Stansfield knows how to write, I'll give her that. After my initial horror, I hunkered down and the story kept my nose in the book for a few solid hours until I finished it. I think the last few chapters needed more details when the hero was in trouble, but after pondering the most likely type of reader the book would have, it was probably enough.

Basic wrap-up: Chas is a thirty-something LDS single woman running a B&B and taking care of the grandmother who raised her. A "duh-duh-duh!" mysterious stranger comes for a week for "peace and quiet". The stranger is Jackson, an FBI agent on administrative leave after a fellow agent is shot and killed during a bust. For the time that he is the only guest at the B&B, Jackson and Chas find out they have similar baggage: lost love, few family ties, traumatic experiences that closed them off to close relationships with the opposite sex, etc. Jackson becomes charmed by not only Chas but her grandmother. He finds the situation growing on him and he becomes more torn about returning to work. Chas finds she is attracted to Jackson but fears the feeling will just be temporary, especially with the added complication that she is very religious, and he isn't.

You can probably work out the rest of the plot from there. The romantic scenes are clean and not steamy. I think it's funny that Chas describes the situation between her and Jackson as a "Hallmark t.v. special", because that's exactly what the whole book reminded me of.

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