Live and Love Again asks and attempts to answer tough questions: is it possible to love more than one person in a lifetime? Does one love lessen or invalidate the love that came before it? This romance features two women at opposite ends of the socioeconomic and emotional spectrum.
Sarah Jarret, a retired Air Force Colonel, immerses herself in her hand-to-mouth custom furniture building business after the sudden death of her wife, Cheryl. She keeps busy and keeps moving to avoid dwelling on the lingering pain and loneliness that not even her best friends and loyal dog, Benny, can fill. Trying to stay financially solvent, she is constantly in her shop crafting furniture and soliciting new clients.
Jessica Whitney, a talented and driven Chicago-based architect, has devoted her life to building the company she founded with her inheritance. She is used to directing the flow of events in her business dealings and in her personal life. In some ways, Jessica’s actions reminded me of Faith’s mantra from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (not mean-spirited; just a bit inconsiderate): Want, Take, Have.
Every moment of everyday is carefully orchestrated. Her family is made up of colleagues and friends. Jimmy, her loyal driver, accompanies her on all of her trips.
Coincidence seats the two women next to each other in First Class; a rare treat for Sarah and a matter-of-course for Jessica.
Jessica leads the way from the moment their plane takes flight from Phoenix to Chicago. She steamrolls Sarah, taking the lead on their initial, mutually lust-driven nights together. Sarah, nervous about an upcoming presentation to a high profile client, is never quite on solid footing from the moment the plane takes off until she boards it to go home. The way in which both women approach their mutual attraction is very revealing about their personalities, goals, and desires. Fate brings Jessica back to Phoenix on business and the two women attempt to juggle their jobs and pleasure. When Sarah’s guilt over her burgeoning love overwhelms her, it takes an emergency to come to terms with her past.
The prose warms up and develops a more natural, less simplistic style after the first few pages. However, the novel never seems to lose it expositional-style. You also don’t see a lot of Sarah’s conflict about “betraying” her wife’s memory, which is meant to play a large role in her reactions to Jessica. This is due in part to her use of the physical to block out any inner thoughts. Sarah and Jessica are always on the move, literally and figuratively. It’s only when they are forced to stop by events outside of their control that they give more thought to their future as a couple and as individuals. These scenes would be more powerful if the reader is not having the actions and feelings s-p-e-l-l-e-d out for them.
Overall, it was a decent debut effort, with plenty of sugar and spice. I look forward to seeing how Jan Gayle develops as a writer in her next book, Best Laid Plans.
Woodworking – http://www.froggybuilder.com/
Author page on BSB – https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/authors/jan-gayle-85
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Thank you, Bold Strokes Books, for the opportunity to review this title.