Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Book Review: 'To Live' by Dori Lavelle

Author Dori Lavelle writes romance, thriller and suspense novels. To date she has published around 30 books in addition to some bundled series. TO LIVE is Book 1 of a trilogy she calls “To Live Again’ and was written in 2014.

If this novel is a sample of the quality of writing from this young author then there is a strong future assured. Often in Chick Lit novels the emphasis is on erotica, and while Dori inserts enough steam in this book it is her inventive creation of fascinating characters that sets her apart. Her style of story development is natural and credible and one many have encountered. As she writes in her opening, ‘The feeling Kelsey O'Neil got upon arriving in Dreara took her by surprise. It was like coming home. After everything that had happened in the last year, she'd toyed with the idea of moving out of Ireland entirely, but Dreara was perfect. It was only a two-hour drive from Saulery, but felt miles away from her old life. She turned the radio on full blast and bobbed her head to the music, eyes fixed on the road ahead. The numerous photos she'd seen of the cozy little town with a sprinkling of thatched-roof cottages did not do the real thing justice. She rolled down the window and let the refreshing smells of newly cut grass and sea salt envelop her. Following Caroline's directions, she drove along Dale Street and turned left onto Edgeway Street, where number twenty-eight was situated. She parked in front and stepped out of the car. The afternoon breeze caressed her skin and blew a wisp of hair across her face. Tucking it back behind her ear, she gazed at the small, traditional thatched cottage. A cobblestone path cut through the flower-dotted garden to the front door. As Kelsey stood admiring her new home, a golden retriever bounded from the rear of the cottage to greet her. Kelsey pushed the gate open before he got the chance to demolish it. Tail wagging, he sniffed her heels and tried to lick her legs. She bent down to stroke the dog's smooth fur.’

But to the plot – ‘Kelsey O'Neil has never been the no-strings-attached kind of girl, but the moment she lays eyes on Shaun Brannon's broad shoulders, chest, and runs her gaze down the tattoo on his back, she knows she's in danger of getting her good girl image changed. Shaun is a love-them-and-leave-them kind of man. And he offers no apologies for it. The notorious bad boy soon makes it clear he wants Kelsey, but not his heart, the place where the demons from his rough and damaged past keep him from committing to any woman. Is Kelsey ready to give Shaun her body without her heart? Or should she walk away before she gets burned?’

The story unfolds slowly but with new turns of interest on every page. A nice slow read for the very large Chick Lit audience. Grady Harp, April 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.