Karen Robards – "One Summer"

7 Nov

GENRE: Romance /Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Dell, 1993

The back blurb:
“Johnny Harris is home again, his too-tight jeans and belligerent attitude honed to perfection by a ten-year stretch in federal prison for murder. Now he’s out on parole and ready for the job Rachel Grant has promised to help him begin a new life. Unlike the rest of the town, Rachel has always believed in her former student’s innocence. But one thing has changed …
The sullenly handsome boy she remembered is still sullen, still handsome .. but no longer a boy. And now the small Kentucky town is alive with gossip and whispers of scandal, as friendship turns to passion and Rachel abandons a lifetime of propriety in the ex-con’s arms. Then the killer strikes again. All evidence points to Johnny Harris, but Rachel knows he is innocent. And she knows she is next … as a shattering truth is uncovered and dark passions explode in the relentless summer heat.”

I got this novel some years ago and this is the third time that I read it. It holds up well, I still like it – and that’s something that doesn’t happen often with re-reads. This time around I especially enjoyed how Robards captured the feeling of living in a small town (even if some things seemed a bit too much in that regard).

One Summer has a couple of things going for it from the start: I like older woman – younger man stories, I like bad boy hero – prim heroine stories, I like second chance at love stories. And boy, does Robards get these things right for me. There are a couple of scenes that still grab me after reading them for the third time.

But One Summer has also one thing against it from the start: I’m really not that much into the romantic suspense type of stories. Worse, this one is badly done. There are quite a few parts from the villain’s point of view and they don’t mesh well with the other parts of the story, especially near the end when it gets clear that there is some special twist to it all. Maybe it’s just that I liked to read about Johnny and Rachel so much – they really are a great couple – that I thought the villain’s POV too distracting. But I stand by my opinion that the twist near the end about the the villain’s motivation was not well done (rather out of the blue and creepy), even though I see its foreshadowing with re-reading. Either leave it out entirely or do it better.

But that’s the only complaint I have about this novel.

Would I recommend this novel?Yes.

Would I read this novel again? Yes.

Grade: 4+ / 5


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