21 October 2011

Review: Turnabout’s Fair Play by Kaye Dacus

As I am not an American, I had never heard of author (Mary) Flannery O’Connor, for whom the heroine of this novel is named (to the heroine’s continued annoyance).  Apparently, O’Connor is a famous American author whose works are frequently studied by high school and college students.  There, so I learnt something from reading a Christian romance novel! 

Flannery MacNeill is a 30-something Christian fiction editor for a small publisher in Tennessee.  She is feeling somewhat depressed because one of her best friends is about to get married, the other is engaged, and she is afraid that they will both have personality changes and no longer want to maintain the relationship once they marry.  However, her friends would like to introduce her to some nice young men.  Just as long as they don’t suggest Jamie O’Connor, the wedding usher and a gorgeous, overconfident Sports Marketing executive…

Jamie O’Connor is up for promotion to Sports Marketing Director at the Nashville advertising agency where he works – or so he thinks.  A shock announcement forces him to rethink his career and his life, and he realises that fitting in with the boys at work may have meant that he has moved away from the person he really is, like the friends he used to have and the secret he is at pains to hide… Meanwhile, the grandmother who raised him is trying to marry him off, and that Flannery MacNeill seems like a good candidate, particularly when she is accompanied by her extremely attractive grandfather…

I really enjoyed Turnabout's Fair Play – so much so that I read it twice, back-to-back.  I liked the interaction and friendly banter between the hero and heroine, I liked the way the hero and heroine had so much in common, I liked the way their ‘secrets’ came out as a natural part of the relationship so there was no dreading ‘big misunderstanding, I liked the way that their faith was woven into the plot without making a big deal about it, and I liked the way that the story did not just revolve around the hero and heroine, but had a very satisfying secondary romance as well as some real relationships with friends and family (good and not-so-good).  Only one thing was missing – the recipe for the Parmesan Smashed Red Potatoes that Jamie loved.  I can live without the accompanying corned beef and cabbage, but those potatoes sounded good!

Although Turnabout's Fair Play is the third in The Matchmakers series (following Love Remains and The Art of Romance), it can easily be read as a standalone novel.  Kaye Dacus was nominated for the 2010 Christy Award (Contemporary Romance) for her novel, Stand-in Groom .  This is now on my Wish List, and I look forward to reading Dacus’s backlist (including the first two in The Matchmakers series).  The 2010 Christy Award was actually won by Diann Mills for Breach of Trust, which I have previously mentioned as one of my favourite novels - so to come second behind Mills is no mean feat!

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