Blue by You (enovella)
By Rachel Gibson
Publisher: Avon Impulse
September 3, 2013
Blue Louretha Dare Toussaint Butler’s ancestors in the female line might have been scandalized to see her living in the overseer’s cottage, wearing jean shorts, and drinking Purple Jesus (a combination of grape juice, ginger ale, and vodka) on the Lord’s Day, but Blue thinks she’s done well to hang on to Dahlia Hall, the home that has been in her family for nearly two hundred years by turning the big house into a tourist attraction. Blue used her divorce settlement to do the renovations that made Dahlia Hall self-supporting. The only other River Road plantation still in the hands of the original owners is nearby Esterbrook, the ancestral home of the Penningtons, Toussaint enemies for generations.
Kasper Pennington returned to New Orleans five years ago. After a successful career in the Marines and two unsuccessful marriages, he’s back where he started. A construction business that’s has expanded rapidly in post-Katrina New Orleans, renovations on Esterbrook, and keeping an eye on his idiosyncratic grandmother are enough to fill a man’s time. A busy man doesn’t have time to think about his past and the choices he made more than two decades ago.
Once long ago, Blue ignored her mama’s advice to “stay away from those morally corrupt, sugar-mouthed Pennington boys.” Fresh out of high school and eager to show she was a woman, Blue allowed Kasper Pennington to charm her. Twenty-two years later she still hasn’t forgotten exactly how charming he proved to be, but she’s wiser now. Too bad that Kasper Pennington is as tempting as ever, and this time he’s not leaving.
I loved these characters. Blue and Kasper are both funny and smart-mouthed and believably Southern, and the chemistry between them sizzles. I loved that they are both over forty and that, although they have lived full lives, they have not forgotten their brief time together. In fact, I love Blue and Kasper and their story so much that I think they deserve more than five chapters. I want them to have their HEA, but this HEA happens too quickly for me to believe in it.
For readers who have never read Rachel Gibson, “Blue by You” is a quick, inexpensive introduction to her style. My guess is that many such readers will be delighted with her characterization skills and her ability to craft a sizzling love scene and will be ready to check out her upcoming novel Run to You. But I suspect most Gibson fans will share my longing for Blue and Kasper’s story to be more.
I’m finding the current trend for authors to offer shorts between novels or as preludes to a new series a mixed blessing. I can’t resist those by my favorite authors, but, while I’ve found some to be wonderful, others leave me singing “Is that all there is?” Are you a fan of novellas? What about shorter-than-usual-novellas?