I am happy to report that my first Darynda Jones novel was a great one! I went into this thinking it was a romance novel, and it’s not, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment. The book is almost genre-less? It’s a mix of mystery, general fiction, romance, a touch of YA, suspense… basically, it has it all! I loved following Sunshine Vicram and her awesome daughter Ari as they move back to Sunshine’s small New Mexico hometown.
Maybe I’m biased, because I love New Mexico, but the small town setting and quirky cast of characters totally worked; bonus, it included lots of New Mexico-isms which added to the charm. Plus, the plot was surprisingly heavy at times, and the light-hearted characters and setting often served as a much-needed foil.
I think the part that impressed me most was the masterful way Ms. Jones weaved a plot together. She parceled out information and plot twists with a deft hand that kept me reading just to find out what new tidbit would make my jaw drop; or which revelation would have me in tears; or frequently stitches of laughter.
Now, as I mentioned previously, this isn’t really a romance novel per-say, but I don’t read books that don’t at least have a hint of a love story, and this story definitely had enough to keep me reading. The synopsis makes it sound a little like a love triangle, but it’s not. Both Sunshine and Ari have delightful love interests and I can’t wait to find out how they develop further!
I did think the plot lagged a little bit towards the beginning. Ms. Jones was laying the groundwork for a series and all of the information was necessary. I also am super glad I listened to the book on audio, it helped Sunshine’s quirky sense of humor “hit” better. I am not sure I would have fully enjoyed this book as much if I had tried reading my physical copy, especially as the beginning.
Overall, I highly recommend this breath of fresh air disguised as a book! The suspense plot was suspenseful but not terrifying, the bond between our main characters was heartwarming, and I can tell this is setting up to be a fantastic series. I can’t wait for the next one!!
**I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review**