Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Spotlight Review:

ISBN-13:  978-0-425-27376-0 
June 2015 
Contemporary Romance 

Chicago, Illinois – Present Day 

Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade is enjoying reading in bed after another successful divorce settlement when she hears her security alarm come on and then go off, and men's voices.  She grabs her cell phone and hides behind the clothes hamper in her closet and calls 911.  Just as she hears the police arrive, the 911 operator is saying help was coming.  This causes her to flash back to the last time she heard a 911 operator say that to her, when she was 10 years old and came home after her mother's suicide attempt.  The walls close in on her and she faints.  A month later, after sleepless nights, she sells her town house and buys a condo, except it won't be ready until the end of the summer.  She has to get sleep, so she rents a loft in downtown Chicago, and with the help of her best friends Audrey and Rachel, she moves in record time and they go to a nearby bar, The Violet Hour.  Victoria and her friends spot a hottie, but just as they make eye contact, a member of a bachelorette party comes and invites the hottie and his two friends to join them.  Ah, well, he could have been the one! 

Ford Dixon is at The Violet Hour with his friends Charlie and Tucker several days after his father's funeral.  After living with an alcoholic whose moods changed for the worse after 5 or 15 beers, Ford is eyeing the brunette when the bachelorette babe comes by, and his friends see no reason why girls should be abandoned with no men around.  One woman goes home with Ford, and as she leaves early the next morning, she meets Ford's neighbor, Victoria.  Ford's mother has asked him to keep checking on his sister Nicole after her boyfriend dumped her when she told him she was pregnant, and now she has a four month old baby.  Ford is also working on an investigative case for his newspaper about how a convict on parole was hardly ever checked on and went on to kill a seventeen year old girl.  The answer to everything that's wrong with the agency is "there's never enough money".  

Despite Ford's problems as the child of an alcoholic parent, he worries about his sister's four month old baby and her missing father.  Victoria volunteers to represent Nicole and find out who is the right Peter Sutter—out of eleven in the Chicago area—whom she met for a one night stand a year ago, and doing their own investigations brings Victoria and Ford together.  Their tentative relationship begins to get closer, but Victoria is also going to a therapist to solve her feelings of being shut in, including being in subways, going to work-out classes, and being in elevators, situations where she seems to leave her body, get hot, and must fight not to faint.  But letting anyone know she has troubles is against her code, because everyone must think she is in charge all the time.  Is Victoria afraid Ford will think she is weak, and can Victoria live up to her reputation as one of the best family attorney's in the City?  Remember, Victoria never loses or lets anyone see her sweat. 

Julie James has everyone eagerly awaiting the highly anticipated story SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER.  Here are two characters with childhood traumas that still linger into their thirties.  Victoria has panic attacks, and now has panic attacks worrying about HAVING panic attacks and making a fool of herself.  She knew at an early age she would have to be the strong one between her and her mother and has tried ever since to always be the one that can be counted on.  Ford's relationship with his father went from playing catch to being cussed at for always being around.  As adults they both struggle with forming intimate relationships that last longer than a month. 

Secondary characters are Nicole, Ford's sister, and his friends, Charlie and Tucker, and Victoria's friends, Audrey and Rachel.  There is also Peter Sutter, perhaps the father of Nicole's baby daughter Zoe.  Will he be a stand-up guy when he finds out about her? 

SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER comes around just as we were panting eagerly for another Julie James story; she is definitely a healthy addiction for me.  Going on the hard paths Victoria and Ford tread as they work on their issues of trust will quench your Julie James craving for the next few months. 

Carolyn Crisher

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