Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book Review: Dreaming of Home by Glynna Kaye

From the Cover:
            Fresh out of the military, widower Joe Diaz is determined to raise his young son alone.  But his next-door neighbor Meg McGuire has set her sights on the same house—and teaching job—as Joe! He’s all about family now, not romantic entanglements, and he won’t give up without a fight.  But what about little Davy, who’s growing more attached to Miss Meg every day? Or Joe, who finds himself dreaming of a home and family with the one woman in town who could take it all away?

            I received this book as part of a prize at the Seekerville blog.  It is Glynna Kaye’s debut novel and was released by Love Inspired in October 2009.

  1. Recurring Navy/Pirate analogies:  Joe’s Navy talk stems from his many years in the Navy.  Meg’s pirate references come from her first impression of Joe in his pirate garb when she meets him on “International Talk Like a Pirate Day.” These conflicting nautical themes lend some lovely color to the story.
  2. Word choice.  “Good looking brigand” (p. 9) is what Meg thinks of Joe when they meet. “Chutzpah” (p. 25), this is a great word, which I now know how to spell.  It needs no further elaboration. 
  3. Effective use of Repetition: This paragraph: “Joe parked in front of Wyatt’s Grocery, his mind still replaying the events at lunch. Meg’s smile. The warm welcome from his old buddies. Meg’s smile. Red’s choking incident. Meg’s smile.” (pg. 65).  And again with Meg and Joe simultaneously fixating on Davy’s observation, “ ‘We’re a team, aren’t we?’” (pp. 64, 68).
  4. Bill Diaz:  Joe’s dad doesn’t beat around the bush. He tells Joe when he’s acting like an idiot and when he’s making the right choices.
  5. Davy Diaz: Joe’s son is following closely in Grandpa’s footsteps, but he’s cuter about it.
  1. Joe for a lot of the story: He repeatedly uses the phrase, “Don’t women usually…” as though all women usually do the same things.  Also he takes the “hometown boy” routine a little far (maybe a lot far), behaving as though he is entitled to the job and the house just because he grew up in the town.
  2. Carmen—Joe’s slightly  disturbed sister-in-law:  I really, really dislike her in this story.  She’s a manipulative, opportunistic bully.  Amazingly, I’d love to see her in her own story. I think she’s got potential as a repentant leading lady.
            This story made me take sides, and I was on Meg’s side from the start. Joe made me so mad! I confess there were moments when I almost thought she’d be better off without him.  Almost.  He always managed to take a step in the right direction at the crucial moment. 
            Some critics talk about conflict.  This story has it. The characters are after the same job and the same house in a small town. Conflict. Joe has some compelling reasons why he’s not looking for love. More conflict.  Meg has medical issues that dove-tail not so nicely with Joe’s obstacles and convince her she shouldn’t get involved. Conflict, yet again.  These two are constantly butting heads--with each other or against walls of their own making.
            The resolution of all this conflict comes later in the story than I usually like to see it.  But the issue is not so much their stubbornness (which is usually the case, and it drives me nuts). It’s more like bad timing (definitely better, yet I still wanted to pull my hair out).  They come to the same conclusions about their relationship at basically the same time. As luck—or Glynna Kaye—would have it, Joe is away doing some personal business at that moment, and neither of them can act on their conclusions. 
Just when you think, “Okay, it’s gonna be smooth sailing from here,” she throws you one last curve ball, just to keep you on your toes, in the form of everyone’s favorite crazy sister-in-law.
This novel was a roller coaster of emotions and a tennis match of wit and banter. I’ve never wanted so badly to slap a hero silly. Or tear out my hair.  But isn’t that a sign of good writing?  Hopefully I’m skillful enough to cover the bald spots when I go out in public.
Nice work Glynna!

5 Stars

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