by Jody Vitek
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
Four years after losing her husband, Elizabeth Farefield’s mother-in-law still blames her for his death. Finding it difficult to move forward, she takes a Caribbean cruise to contemplate her future…bumping into the past.
Divorced for five years, Robert Burnhamwood is happy with his playboy ways until on a cruise, a chance meeting has him longing for something he hasn’t wanted since his first marriage...a monogamous relationship filled with love.
But when Robert’s youngest daughter retaliates against his new relationship, his oldest daughter takes up with a man against his wishes, and a rapist terrorizes her neighborhood putting his daughter at risk, a peaceful future with new found love may be beyond Elizabeth’s grasp.
“I’m sorry. Excuse me.” The beverage she held sloshed around. She regarded the man as familiar.
“No, please forgive me. I was too absorbed by the ocean.” Taller than her five-eight height, the muscular arms that held her proved he was a man who took care of his body. She stared into pale green eyes and her gaze fell to his chin.
His features took on a quizzical appearance. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. Thank you.” Her body froze in place.
“Liz?” He held her back by the arms. “Liz Farefield?”
With a mental shake of her head, she spoke. “Do I know you?” Her voice hitched.
“You resemble a woman I’ve met. Her name was Liz.” Releasing his hold, he stepped back. “I’m sorry,” he offered his hand, “Robert Burnhamwood. I believe we met at the opening of the Kids Kare Clinic. My firm, RB and Associates, designed it.”
Focusing more closely on Robert, her head tipped to the side as she recognized him. It was the cleft in his chin. “Yes, you’re right.” She nervously drank from her plastic glass.
Another man approached and presented his hand to Liz after handing Robert what appeared to be a beer. “Hi. Scott Jordan.”
He had jet-black hair with not a grey strand in sight. An olive skin tone gave him the appearance of Mediterranean descent.
“Liz Farefield,” she offered while shaking his hand. “Are you two traveling together?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jody Vitek is a multi-published author with Satin Romance, an imprint of Melange Books, LLC. She has been a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Midwest Fiction Writers (MFW) since 2001 and is a Provisional PAN member of RWA.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Jody remains close to home living with her husband of twenty-five plus years, three children and a cat named Holly. Growing up, she enjoyed reading V.C. Andrews’ the Dollanganger series, starting with Flowers in the Attic, S.E. Hinton, and Stephen King to name a few. Today her tastes run across the board in fiction and non-fiction, in all genres.
She has traveled throughout the United States, to the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico. Between watching her youngest son playing soccer, maintaining one of the many scrapbook albums, gardening and being the COO of the Vitek household, she writes contemporary romances.
Contacts and Links
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Up Close and Personal is a contemporary romance with a tinge of suspense that centers around two people dealing with the challenges of balancing family responsibilities and personal happiness. Elizabeth (Liz) Farefield, widow, has two children and an embittered mother-in-law who has not found a way to work through her grief four years after her loss. Robert Burnhamwood has coped with the pain of his divorce by refusing to commit to one woman in his life, much to the chagrin of his eldest daughter and fanning the hopes of his youngest that the marriage will be saved. A romantic interlude on a cruise ship forces both Liz and Robert to face their fears and decide whether to fight for a relationship but the obstacles facing them may be more than they want to deal with, particularly when their younger children vehemently oppose any change in their lives. It’s a little difficult to make everyone happy unless compromise can be achieved, and complications with both Robert’s daughters and Liz’s son provide frightening challenges that make each of the adults face unpalatable truths and force them to decide what is truly important in life.
This gently unfolding story provides a look at the ups and downs of life when the family unit has been disrupted, by death, divorce, and fertility challenges. There are other topics touched on, including office romance, sexual assault, parental influence, and the complications of juggling family and employer relationships. The conflicts faced by the main characters are nicely detailed and the emotional impact of their decisions and their interactions with various individuals is portrayed with realism. I think there are a few too many threads touched upon, as multiple points of view are shared, and the action bounces around between so many different characters that it becomes difficult to establish a rapport and become invested in each conflict. It seems that several of the issues raised are solved a little too simplistically or conveniently while others are left dangling and the pacing of the story was a little erratic for me, with such a large percentage of the story devoted to the cruise and minimal buildup and development of the suspense aspect which became a little awkward and forced. I think that this story would be enjoyed by those looking for a light read featuring two characters finding a second chance at love and searching for a way to blend families successfully and pleasantly for all involved.
A copy of this title was provide to me for review