Title: Close to You
Author: Kara Isaac
Publisher: Howard Books
Published: April 2016
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance
About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)
A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.
Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.
Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.
When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?
Fans of romantic comedies will love this debut novel. Such a fun read! Its situational comedy, quirky supporting characters, and witty banter had me grinning and chuckling, even as I got to know and empathize with the lead characters in their struggles and disappointments.
The unique backdrop of a Lord of the Rings themed tour in New Zealand sets this book apart from the start, and makes it quite memorable. There are some fabulous descriptions and details throughout the book, the kind that make me want to go on exactly this sort of tour. Though I think I’d want to brush up on my LOTR trivia first….
But it’s the characters, their hurts, and their goals that carry the story. Both characters are likeable – Allison from the beginning, and Jackson as we get to know him better – and they each have some unfortunate emotional baggage to work through, and some growing to do. I enjoyed cheering them on along the way toward a charmingly romantic ending. Perfect for those readers of clean contemporary romance looking for a good chuckle along the way to happily ever after.
Thank you to the publisher for providing a complimentary electronic copy of the book for review purposes.
Quick Links: About the Book | Author’s Site