Saturday, July 18, 2015

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Natural Born Charmer

It wasn't every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of a road, not even in Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard's larger-than-life world. He slammed on the brakes of his brand-new Aston Martin Vanquish and pulled over in front of her.
The beaver marched right past, her big, flat tail bouncing in the gravel, and her small, sharp nose stuck up in the air. Way up. The beaver looked highly pissed . . .
She was definitely a girl beaver because her beaver head was missing, revealing sweaty, dark hair pulled into a scraggly ponytail. He'd been praying for a little distraction from his own depressing company, so he threw open the door and stepped out onto the shoulder of the Colorado road . . .
Funny, sexy, and touching—Natural Born Charmer is the unforgettable love story of a golden boy who might be losing his luster and a spirited woman who's learned never to depend on anyone but herself.

Comment: This is the last book I've read. It's also the last one of the Chicago Stars series by author Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Nevertheless, it's a series I've taken a lot of enjoyment from and this book, somehow, seemed to be generally more balanced than some of the others in terms of romance.
This is the story of Dean Robillard, a character we've met in the previous book as a jock without much humility. While traveling to his farm which has been renovated, he sees a woman in a beaver costume walking on the road without the costume's head. Her name is Blue and at first he only wanted her to amuse him.
Because of circumstances, Dean takes Blue to his farm and they start to get to know each other better. Along with the farm, Dean finds his mother, someone he didn't want to talk to anymore. Then his half sister shows up. Then his distant father. Dean's personal life is a mess but with Blue by his side and all the things they learn together about the past and forgiveness, could this mean life has more to offer than simply money and fame?
I had a great time reading this book. The author's style is very appealing because even when more dramatic situations happen or when characters have more difficult challenges to deal with, we know there will be a flawless HEA at the end and that, globally, the story will be a successful one.
This series has been a very good one. Despite that, I never considered any of them close to perfection because there were some details that stopped me from considering them so.
In this book case, I think everything worked out much better or, at least it felt so to me, because the main couple's relationship felt more realistic in its development and solidity.
Usually the couple's meet, things happen and they fall in love without saying for a while, then one says it first, the other takes more time but things end well.
With Blue and Dean, I think since they get intimate until their happy epilogue, things seem more balanced between them. I can't explain it very well, it's actually more a feeling I got while reading, but it seemed to me that because they both had similar issues with their parents, the way they bonded seemed more realistic. And their path to happiness felt more believable too.
Of course this is fiction. I don't see this kind of "reality" near me or in the lives of real people, but if one considers the way the romance is shaped and develops, the way Dean and Blue develop a relationship based on mutual elements, these things make it seem stronger.
The relationship being the strongest element of this book, it is even better because of its balance. I always felt Blue and Dean weren't on different stages in life despite their differences, nor did I feel one was at a better place emotionally than the other. They had a good balance between them and I enjoyed seeing the journey they did.
Something that contributed to this were the secondary relationships they had with other family members and people they met. I think that by having to deal with others, that helped them to put in some perspective what was happening to them, what their past experiences meant and how they sort of prepared them to who they were now, where in life they were and how important it would be to have someone you could depend on, just like they found out it could happen between them.
It does help the reader to compare a character's state of mind when we have interactions with others. The key is to do it well, and ms. Phillips does it beautifully.
I also like the feel of the story, and with this I mean the natural following of happenings that make me want to keep reading and finding out what comes after. Again, this also requires talent. Many authors seem to want to finish so badly it becomes obvious to the reader. In this case, the words and sentences felt perfect to the type of story that was happening.
All in all, a very good example of how a romance should be like. I'm very pleased to know I have more books and another series by this author to read and later on this year I'll definitely try something else by her.
As for this one, considering all the series and how balanced and well structured it felt, to finish with a book that, for me, felt even better is the cherry on top.
Grade: 9/10

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