Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas
Contemporary Romance (with magical element)
February 28, 2012
Reviewed by Mandi
I’m relatively new to Lisa Kleypas contemporaries. I’m a huge fan of her historicals and decided to try Smooth Talking Stranger this year on audio. I ended up loving it, and still plan to read the other two in that series. But I didn’t want to let this new contemporary pass me by. I was hesitant though for one main reason – magic. I don’t like magic in my otherwise contemporary books. For example, The Next Always by Nora Roberts. The ghost kind of ruined that book for me. So I went into this book expecting to rant and rave about the magic aspect. And instead, I really didn’t have much of a problem at all, and I think it is all because Lisa Kleypas didn’t try to make it a surprise and it doesn’t overwhelm the story. We pretty much know from page one:
When Lucy Marinn was seven years old, three things happened: Her little sister Alice got sick, she was assigned her first science fair project, and she found out magic existed.
Those three things are vital to this story. Alice becomes ill, and even after she recovers, can do no wrong in her parents eyes. She is doted on to an extreme, and never has to take responsibility for anything. This makes a young Lucy jealous and as an adult resentful of both Alice and her parents. It becomes much worse, when Lucy’s boyfriend dumps her, for her sister. Devastated, Lucy must rebuild her life in the town of Friday Harbor.
When she is assigned her first science fair project, she discovers her absolute obsession with glass, and glass art more specifically. She starts to absorb everything there is to know about glass and the craft of creating it into artistic pieces. She also learns this, after her first beloved ornament is shattered by her sister:
She blinked as the glimmers rose from the floor and swirled around her. Astonished, she wiped her eyes with her fingers and watched the lights circle and dance. Finally she understood what she was seeing.
Magic meant just for her.
Every shard of glass had transformed into living sparks. Slowly the dancing procession of fireflies made their way to the open window and slipped into the night.
Now, magic doesn’t take the lead in this story. It is actually not even mentioned very much. It doesn’t necessarily impact Lucy’s life, besides the fact that the only thing she wants to do in life is work with glass. Later in the story, there are some times during extreme emotion, that she turns a juice glass into a hummingbird and something else into a bat. I probably could have lived without this, but it didn’t nearly annoy me as much as I expected it to.
Lucy is not alone in this book. We have a very sexy hero by the name of Sam Nolan. Sam owns his own vineyard. He is a farmer by heart, and one day hopes to turn his small grape growing obsession into a full scale winery. He has magic too – a green thumb, literally. He can touch a plant and it comes to life. He has known from a very young age exactly what to plant where in each garden for the fullest effect. He meets Lucy by chance, the day her boyfriend dumps her, and they have a friendly conversation. They have mutual friends who start to urge them together. Lucy is very hesitant, since she just had her heart broken and Sam only does sex, not relationships. But after Lucy has a bad bike injury and needs 24 hour care for a few days, Sam reluctantly steps up to help her and a relationship unfolds.
I really enjoyed Sam. His sister died recently, leaving her six-year old daughter behind. Having two brothers, his brother Mark becomes his nieces legal guardian, but having no idea how to raise a six-year old, they both move in with Sam. The family has a great dynamic which adds much to this story.
Lucy comes across a bit prickly through much of the book. I did get a little tired of it after a time. And I have to say – after reading Smooth Talking Stranger and many of this author’s historicals, the sex scenes in this book are very much skimmed over. They are not the kind of very sensual romance scenes I expected, so I was a little disappointed there. But that is all nitpicking. Overall I really enjoyed this one. It has a bit of a whimsical tone, and a very engaging story.