A few weeks ago I was in Barnes and Noble (my little bit of earthly heaven) and found a book for under $4 - SCORE. Well, I just finished it last night and thought, "What better time to review it?"
Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James. Book 1 of the Ladies of Summerhill.
I believe this is Miss James's first book, for which I say bravo. What drew me to this book as I read the back cover was not just that it sounded like an interesting story, but that the main character was a writer.
Lilly Westbrook secretly writes dime novels under the nom de plume "Fannie Cole" in order to donate her earnings to charity. She knows writing these stories, stories her society thinks is trash, in secret isn't pleasing to God, but she struggles with the good she does in spite of it. Her stories are pure and focused on God, which she uses as an excuse for her behavior.
Lilly runs into serious trouble when her former flame, Jackson Grail, comes back after several years and reveals he's buying the publishing house to which Fannie Cole is attached. On top of this revelation, a man named Colonel MacIntyre, operator of a gossip paper, is threatening to come forth with Miss Cole's real identity. Torn between coming out in public and shaming her family or accepting help from her previous beau, Lilly must decide which decision is the best not only for her future and for others, but what is pleasing to God.
The story had potential to be exciting, but it fell flat, I'm sorry to say. This story wasn't enjoyable in the fact that though there was conflict present, it never gripped you, and I'd say it leaned more towards boring and repetitious. The most interesting part was the mysterious backstory of a minor character instead, of which I won't go into detail with spoilers. Reading the book was like watching a movie in which the actors have no chemistry.
The ending was also a disappointment. Everything was resolved in a rush at once, and the way things resolved seemed rather unrealistic. The author had something to say but couldn't seem to tie it all together and so she snipped the ends and left it.
Would I recommend this book to another reader? No. Would I read another book by this author? Surprisingly, yes, I'd give it at least one more chance. I've read the summaries of the other books of this series, and they too sound like good stories. I would be curious to see if the author's writing has improved.
Sarah's Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.