Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Review: Blue by You

Blue by You (enovella)
By Rachel Gibson
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: 
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?

10 comments:

PJ Ausdenmore said...

I'm a fan of Rachel's full-length books so I'll probably download this novella at some point. I do enjoy novellas. They're great fillers for those days when I want a "quick fix" but don't have a lot of available time. Some I've read have been wonderful, leaving me delighted and completely satisfied. Others leave me wanting more, more, more! I think it's just the nature of the beast. ;-)

Deborah Stein said...

I think a light frothy novella can be a lot of fun and a good way for an author to share an idea that isn't big enough to sustain a book. An emotionally compelling novella is much harder. But done right it can be very intense and a good way to tell a story that would either be diluted by secondary plots or just too intense to maintain for a whole book. Like Knox Making it last....

irisheyes said...

I agree with PJ and Deborah. Some are great and just the right length for the story the author is telling. Some leave me wanting more and wondering why the author didn't turn this story into a full fledge novel.

Ruthie Knox's MAKING IT LAST was amazing. But then again I loved the first novella, HOW TO MISBEHAVE, which was how the heroine and hero (Amber & Tony) met. I actually enjoyed those 2 novellas more than the other full length books in that series.

Janga said...

PJ, I think you're right about the "nature of the beast." I admit I'm an easy sale for a novella. They are great for a quick read, the price for enovellas is generally great, and they are a great way to try out a new author.

Janga said...

Deb, love for Ruthie Knox's work seems nearly universal within the romance universe. I hear praise for her from a variety of readers too.

I have to consider your point about light vs. emotionally intense further. I have some favorites that fall in both groups and some that I think have a bit of both.

Janga said...

Irish, I have read quite a few since the recent trend that left me wanting more. I don't remember experiencing that feeling as frequently with older novellas. Maybe that's just my idiosyncratic response.

And I too prefer Knox's novellas to her novel, although I haven't read all her novels. I have a couple on my Kindle that I haven't found the time to read yet.

Deborah Stein said...

Janga, I think About last night would blow you away. It's a wonderful book. I agree that in general I find Knox 's novellas amazing and her novels are a little uneven.

Another modern master of novellas is Courtney Milan...

PJ Ausdenmore said...

Deborah, I agree that Courtney Milan is a master of the novella. But then, I find most everything she writes masterful. :)

I adored "Seduced By a Pirate" by Eloisa James (which won the RITA this summer). It gave me everything I wanted and while I would have gladly taken more, it was pretty darn perfect just as it was. It's only $0.99 if anyone wants to give the e-novella a try.

Janga said...

Deb, I agree that About Last Night is a five-star read, but even so, I prefer the novellas. :)I also agree that Courtney Milan has written some outstanding novellas, beginning with her first one.

Janga said...

PJ, I second all you said about Seduced by a Pirate. It was my favorite novella of 2012. I loved it from the first sentence to the final one.