Monday, September 12, 2005
I love a good read
Almost Perfect - Julie Ortolon
I really really liked this book. Julie Ortolon is a real buried treasure in my opinion. Ever since her first book Drive Me Wild, she has been on my autobuy list but she is an author you never really hear too much about.
In Almost Perfect, three friends, Maddie, Christine and Amy are motivated to change their lives when a fourth friend writes a self-help book using them as examples of what NOT to do. Angry at first, they realize she is right and agree to set about changing their lives. This first book is the story of Maddie. Maddie is a young widow who gave up her dreams of becoming a great artist to tend to her late husband during his bout with cancer. She decides to take a summer job as an Arts and Crafts counsellor in Santa Fe, a city famous for it’s art galleries. She can work during the day and concentrate on her art during the evenings. The only drawback is she will have to work with Joe her young high school sweetheart whose heart she broke years ago.
Joe is less than thrilled to see Maddie again after all these years. Although devastated at the time, he moved on with his life and joined the Army Rangers. After a serious injury ended his army career, he moved back to Santa Fe to help his adopted mother with the summer camp she runs. Seeing Maddie again brings back all the pain he felt when she refused his offer of marriage when they were young.
Eventually though, he gets past his hurt and offers his help with Maddie in establishing her career.
What can I say? I loved both Joe and Maddie. This is a wonderful second chance at love story. Joe is a wonderful hero, a bad boy teenager, still sexy, still vulnerable after all the years apart and wary of getting hurt but Maddie's biggest supporter once he lets his guard down. And Maddie is a wonderful heroine, full of insecurities after being raised in a rather dysfunctional family. The chemistry between these two sizzles and there are some wonderful and tender moments when Joe is vulnerable enough to let Maddie know how much she hurt him. He fell in love with her the first moment he saw her and never really stopped.
The secondary characters are also very well done too. Christine and Amy are good friends and the friendship between the three women is almost as important as the love story between Joe and Maddie. And Mama Fraser, Joe’s adopted mother is a wonderful character too. She and her husband while getting on in age adopted Joe when he was 16 – a wounded troublemaker of a kid and gave him the security to make something of his life. And she’s still feisty after all these years.
I can tell I’ve read a good keeper book, when as soon as I finish, I start it all over again –the second time to savour. I did that with this one. Anyone wanting to try a wonderful author should not miss Julie Ortolon. And the really good news? She has the other two books coming out in October and November so I don’t have to wait very long at all for their stories.
Grade: 4 ¾ out of 5 (Maddie’s insecurities were a tiny bit over the top although I could really relate, so not a 5, but I thought it was even more than 4 ½ if only for Joe alone. This is the first ever 4 ¾ score.
Here are the next 2 that won't be long in coming:
Christine's story coming in October
Amy's story coming in November