Monday, September 26, 2011

A Review: Restless In Carolina by Tamara Leigh:

Tamara Leigh   - Restless In Carolina

When Was It Released?: 19th July 2011
Where Did I Get It From?: Ashley Boyer at Waterbrook Multnomah was kind enough to send this copy for review
Who Published It?:   Waterbrook Multnomah
Number Of Pages:  339 pages

Restless In Carolina is the third novel in the Southern Discomfort series; following on from Leaving Carolina and Nowhere Carolina. I was excited to read this new novel in the series, as I always enjoy seeing how authors depict the south in particularly the Carolina’s, which is where I now live. I was excited to see how Restless in Carolina would pan out and could not wait to get started on this novel.

Bridget Pickwick is trying hard to overcome the death of her husband, Easton, but after four years things just aren’t getting any easier. Everyone around her seems to think that it is time she ditched her widow’s weeds and started living her life. On top of that she needs to find a buyer for her family’s estate, and not just any buyer, but someone who will keep the estate in its natural form, as eco-friendly as possible rather than turning it into a housing. Bridget thinks she may have found just in the man in JC Dirk, whose company has been developing green properties for years. JC however, is not amused when Bridget decides to gatecrash one of his meetings in order to get his attention, until she mentions the family name that is. JC finds himself more than interested not only in the property but also perhaps in Bridget herself!

The plot itself is based on a concept which is tried and tested with the southern girl and the city boy. I did enjoy the element Tamara Leigh brings in with trying to find a green buyer for the estate. I felt that this stopped the novel from being something that has been done many times before. Even though this is the third novel in the Southern Discomfort series, the novel still flows easily whether you have read the previous two novels or not. While I would recommend that you do read the previous novels in the series, it is defiantly not necessary in forming an understanding of the plot, and this novel does work well as a stand alone too.

I really enjoyed reading about the character of Bridget. Even though she is an almost polar opposite of myself, I loved her tough character and found her to be extremely grounded. Her tough attitude is chipped away at in this novel, revealing a hilarious, poignant and down to earth woman. I really enjoyed seeing the vulnerable side of Bridget and the way in which she deals with her grief over the loss of her husband, makes her extremely likeable. I also liked the character of JC who I found entertaining, humours and handsome. I loved reading the interaction between Bridget and JC, which had me wondering all along if they would realize that they are perfect for each other. I could not figure JC’s secret out until the point where he tells it. Its very rare for me to find a novel in which I can’t see what is coming on the next page, therefore I found this refreshing. Another favourite character of mine was Uncle Obe, who even though he is dealing with the on set of dementia, is still hilarious and comes out with some very funny lines. He is also a very generous and humble man, who brings great depth to the storyline.

I had one big problem with Restless In Carolina and that was that I felt a lot of the time religion was being pushed down my throat. I am very open in my beliefs and do mind reading about any religion or religious views, however I do like when it is mentioned on almost every page. I felt as though the authors views on religion were forefront throughout the novel. I understand that Tamara Leigh wanted to bring her faith into her writing and make her novels more God-honouring, however I just felt that the way in which it was brought across was not to my tastes. I do not enjoy being preached at through a novel and feel that a little toning down of this could have gone a long way to improving the novel. My other issue with the novel was the use of stereotypes. I myself live in South Carolina and I did not enjoy the way in which there were stereotypical southern characters, who all had stereotypical southern names. I know that many people love these aspects of southern life and reading about this in a novel, but personally I myself am not one of them. I would have liked the characters to be unique people rather than stereotypes of how southern people are perceived.

Overall I did enjoy reading Restless In Carolina. I found the novel to be humorous, filled with romance and southern charm. The characters fit really well with the plot and I really found myself wanting to find out what happened. There is a strong message throughout this novel, which I commend Tamara Leigh for putting into her work. I would recommend Restless In Carolina to anyone who enjoys a romance novel sprinkled with southern charm. I will be reading more from Tamara Leigh in the future.

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