- A Little Sisterly Advice
- Cheeky Reads
- DRD aka Donna's Blog
- Gunner Marnee's Blog
- J.K. Coi: Living with Immortals
- Just Janga
- Killer Fiction
- Kimberly Killion
- Maggie Robinson
- Maureen O. Betita
- Megan Kelly
- Pam Clare
- Renee Lynn Scott
- Romance Bandits
- Romance Dish
- Scapegoat's Blogspot
- Smartass Romance
- Terri Osburn Writes Romance
- Tessa Dare
- Vauxhall Vixens
- 2013 (161)
- 2012 (206)
- 2011 (237)
- 2010 (325)
- 2009 (307)
- 2008 (254)
- 2007 (66)
Powered by Blogger.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
12:00 AM | Posted by Terri Osburn | | Edit Post
I haven't been reading much in the last year or so and finally realized if I don't fill the well I'll never get anything truly inspiring on the page. So I ventured to the bookstore with the express purpose of finding a book I could analyze for good writing. I strolled B&N pulling one book after another off the shelf only to slide them back again. Nothing sounded good to me. But then I spotted a book I've seen online more than once and always thought, "That sounds really interesting."
This time I didn't slide it back.
Just Down the Road is the 4th in Jodi Thomas' Harmony Series. Set in Harmony, Texas, the town is just as charming as the name makes it sound. But still real, with all the gossip, hard times, good times, and history you'd recognize in your own, be it large or small. I'd never read Ms. Thomas and worried a bit about jumping into a series this far in, but I was soon so enthralled, coming in late didn't make a difference.
Since I bought this book looking for something to analyze, some of this review will be from a writer's point-of-view and some from a readers. Anyway you address it, this book is wonderful. This should come as no surprise as Ms. Thomas is a writer-in-residence at West Texas A&M University. If you want to see how it's done, pick up a book from Jodi Thomas. Wish I'd figured this out sooner.
Tinch Turner has lived in Harmony his entire life and still lives in the house in which he grew up. A virtual horse whisperer, he has a soft spot for injured and skittish creatures, but suffers scars of his own from losing his one true love three years before to cancer.
Addison Spencer is new to Harmony, having taken a temporary spot as an ER doctor in the local hospital. The child of an overbearing and emotionally manipulative father and the ex of a man who beat her, Addison is more than a little skittish around men.
When her first encounter with Tinch Turner is stitching him up after he'd taken on five men in a bar brawl, she jumps to some very wrong conclusions about the large cowboy, and as cowboys are contrary and prideful creatures themselves, he refuses to clear up her misconceptions.
Until a boy comes along. A four year old boy in need of his Uncle Tinch, whom he's never met, and who clings to his angel, the doctor who found him scared and asleep in her little rental house. Their shared concern for the boy turns to love of the child and eventually love for each other. Though the road to the HEA isn't easy, filled with desperate drug dealers, flying bullets, and long standing emotional walls, the end to this story is all the more satisfying for the struggle.
From what I can tell, the over-arching story of this series belongs to Reagan Truman. Her parts of this book are heartbreaking, heartfelt, and hilarious in turns. Harmony comes alive not because of the wide open pastures, the winding back roads, or the bustling hospital, but through the connections of the characters.
This is where the writer stuff kicks in.
Ms. Thomas includes a large cast of characters throughout this book, from the once raucous female sheriff to a stuttering teen with a gift for music, to a funeral director with a heart of gold waiting for his love to return.
The people of Harmony are what make this book come to life. They're real and troubled and funny and kind and ready to help in any way they can. This is not some fictional Utopia, but a living, breathing, vibrant setting that served as a master class on writing the small town contemporary novel. Or any novel. The writing is superb without being flowery. The stories complex without being unrealistic. The characters damaged, insecure, brave, and generous.
If you don't like jumping into a series at book 4, I suggest finding Welcome To Harmony first, but it isn't necessary to enjoy this book. If you like a good, solid story, with amazing characters, and strong sexual tension without the extended and detailed love scenes, this is a book not to be missed.
Have you tried a new-to-you author lately? How did that turn out? What authors do you study for the craft of the work? Anyone out there already a Jodi Thomas fan and if so, why didn't you clue me into to this woman sooner?? (Don't answer this, Janga. I'm sure you've tried.)
One lucky commenter will win a copy of this book in the format of your choice. (Contest limited to US residents only please.)