Jane Stewart's Reviews > One Summer

One Summer by Karen Robards
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Nov 14, 2010

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bookshelves: romantic-suspense
Read in November, 2010

The first 60% of the book was depressing, but the rest was very good romantic suspense and emotionally fulfilling.

Johnny and his siblings were raised by an abusive, hateful, low income father. Rachel was Johnny’s high school English teacher. She saw Johnny’s love of reading which he hid from others. She cared for him as a teacher. A girl Johnny slept with was killed. At age 19, Johnny was wrongly convicted of the murder and sent to jail. Ten years later he writes to Rachel asking her help. If he can get a job, they will release him on parole. She hires him to work in her family’s hardware story. When he comes to town, almost everyone mistreats him. A restaurant refuses to serve him. The victim’s brother starts a fight with him. The cops treat him unfairly. Rachel has always believed he was innocent and is his only defender. Then the killer strikes again. The new victim is a female friend of Johnny’s.

Johnny was a good guy who suffered his whole life, his hateful father, other kids looking down on him for being from the wrong side of the tracks, years in prison, and now everywhere he goes he suffers bad treatment from the townspeople. It was sad. Rachel is drawn to him, yet community forces are against her being with him. She might lose her job teaching if she associates with a “felon.” But the last part of the book was very good. I enjoyed their developing relationship. I enjoyed learning more about Johnny and seeing changes he made for Rachel. He is smart. There is suspense because the killer is now after Rachel. There is a scary but happy ending. I think fans of romantic suspense will like this as long as they don’t mind feeling down during the first 233 pages.

Some readers may question the killer’s motives and beliefs. I found them strange and irrational, but since the killer had other mental problems, I didn’t try to see any logic. Also there is a touch of paranormal going on with some secondary characters.

I felt the author was playing a trick – being dishonest with the readers. At various times during the book we are in the mind of the killer, whom the author refers to as “he.” When we later learn the identity of the killer, we find it is a she, not a he. The killer also has a split personality. So I thought maybe one of those was a he, but no both of the personalities were “she’s.” I was annoyed with this deception. The author furthers the deception when a victim hears the killer talking and believes it is a man’s voice. A good writer would keep us guessing the identity without masking the sex of the killer. I didn’t like this gimmick to create more mystery.

Story length: 389 pages. Swearing language: moderate, including religious swear words. Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: 4. Total number of sex scene pages: 18. Setting: current day Tylerville, Kentucky. Copyright: 1993. Genre: romantic suspense.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Thanks for the Caution Spoiler about the author's sleight of hand. I have seen that same trick in a few other romantic suspense novels, and it does feel like cheating. Deceiving the readers. A cheap trick.

Jane Stewart You're welcome. I'm glad you agree.

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