Monday, March 6, 2017

The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deese

The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deese

I really enjoyed A Season to Love by Nicole, so I was thrilled when I won a contest and received this book. 

Let’s begin with the summary:

Rayne Shelby has spent her entire life trying to earn the approval of her high-powered family, with the hope of one day managing her late grandfather’s prestigious Idaho lodge. But when she makes a mistake that puts her future in jeopardy, she faces an impossible choice: defy her family or deny her dream. The only way to fix the mess she’s created is to enlist the help of her neighbor, Levi, the apprentice of her family’s greatest enemy. And if Rayne gets caught crossing the divided property lines, the consequences will be irreparable.

Levi Harding has never forgotten the August night he shared with Rayne when they were teens—or the way she later rejected him. Despite his warring instincts, he can’t ignore her plea for help or the spark that’s ignited between them. But now, as wildfires bear down on their town and family secrets are revealed, their newfound alliance might just go up in smoke.

And now, my review:

I had a hard time getting into this book. Certain key elements seemed to be missing at the story’s outset, which made me feel like I’d missed a Part One somewhere. I even re-read the beginning, and though that helped, the story didn’t hook me. The other (related?) issue was that the narrative focused more on the stakes at the beginning, reiterating them more than once, and not enough on the heroine’s [the point-of-view character (POVC) at the beginning of the story] heart or emotional history/experience. This distance kept me from sympathizing with her. I could see what she could lose if things fell apart, but I didn’t have enough of a bond with her to feel much of her angst about those threats. I couldn’t believe in her dream with her; I never caught the vision.

The heroine came across as weak, which is fine at the beginning of her character arc, but unfortunately this felt contrived. Because of this, I became more frustrated than sympathetic with her.

I couldn’t see where the title fit in, though to be fair, I gave up on this book at the 50 percent mark. There wasn’t enough of a through thread, a reason for her to keep being pushed to the bottom rung without overcoming, to keep me reading. I wanted to see her grow and have some victories. She came across as rather young and made immature choices (like sneaking around—see the book’s summary above) rather than acting like an adult, and to the point I read I didn’t see her growing in this regard.

One of the themes in this story is going after your dreams and persevering. That's a relatable and desirable theme. I liked the romantic elements. The author has a way with writing those. She also includes some strong, original description in the narrative. I connected more with the hero in this story. Perhaps if the heroine had had a mentor figure (An ally in her own family. Her grandmother, perhaps?) we could have seen a different, competent side to the heroine that would have helped me believe in her. Or watch her make tough choices and have victory. She does show strength by persevering, which helped me respect her. But then she made immature choices, which made her less heroic.

I’ll be watching for the next novel from this author because I loved her first book with Waterfall Press. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t for me. 

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