Wednesday, June 26, 2013

THE SWEET SPOT by Laura Drake

Publisher:   Grand Central
Date published:   May 28, 2013
ISBN:  978-1455521951
Genre:   Contemporary Romance, Inspirational, Women’s Fiction
Book format: Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina

Charla Rae Denny had it all – a loving husband, an adorable child, a thriving ranch and help from her dad to run that ranch. Then one day her world came crashing down and bit by bit the world she built for herself, the only life she ever wanted, began to wall apart with the death of her son, Benje. The remnants of the tree where the terrible accident that took her child still stands. No longer a thriving and towering tree, but a broken stump—a constant reminder of what she has lost.

Mind numbing despair at her child’s death sucked Char into an insurmountable depression, one she tells herself she will move out of soon, maybe even today. That depression isolated her husband, JB, from her. With his wife encased in her own living death JB sought solace in another woman and tore their marriage apart.

Her father, forever a stalwart part of her life is being taken apart cell by cell as alzheimers ravages his mind. Some days he has no idea who she is or where they are. Even with medication the disease relentlessly robs Char of the one constant in her life. On the verge of losing her home and what is left of all she has loved, of the life she used to know, she reaches out to befriend a most unlikely friend—a recent transplant from New York, complete with raucus accent and manner, Bella. Slowly but surely Char begins to climb out of the darkness that has become her life and hope blooms. Perhaps she and JB can once again find that spark that brought their life together.

I read the blurb for debut author Laura Drake’s THE SWEET SPOT and couldn’t wait to delve into the pages.  A champion bull rider cowboy, a poignant love story and a strong heroine. It described the elements of a fantastic love story. THE SWEET SPOT blurb describes it as being a contemporary romance. It does say that Char and JB’s son has died but it goes on to say that JB sets about to win Char’s heart back.

It turned out to be the most depressing story I’ve ever read. It starts off with Char’s depression and her self-talk to turn away from her anti-depressants. Next her father has a near fatal accident due to the ravages of alzheimers. Then she almost loses one of their prize, pregnant cows. Things for Char go downhill from there. The first 100 pages go on and on about how she is struggling with all too brief snippets of a happier time for her. They are a stark contrast to the overwhelming depression is has from page one of the book. Without having gotten to know Char in better days—even a brief prologue that showed the woman she was, I felt drained every time I picked up the bok to read. If I had not taken it for review I would not have finished it.

The one high point of the story was Bella. Bella was a great character and I found myself looking forward to her scenes with Char. She’s funny, smart and so very likeable.

The writing is clear and well done. My problem was the story itself. As I said, if I had a chance to know Char as a happier person, even for a couple of pages, I would have felt some sort of affinity for her.

While the story does have a happy ending—this is, after all a romance, there was just too unhappiness to get there. I’m not much for inspirational stories but I can see where someone who really enjoys them would find THE SWEET SPOT a fantastic read. It just didn’t do it for me.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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