Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Review: Secret Love by Christine Warner

Will you judge me if I tell you I had never read a novella until yesterday? Matter of fact, when I first saw Secret Love, by Christine Warner, I didn't even know that's what it was. Then I started reading and was like, what? Only 69 pages? Won't I feel cheated? And voila: just an hour or so later, I'm a now a big fan of novellas in general and Christine Warner in particular.

Book: Secret Love
Author: Christine Warner
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sweet Romance
Rating:             (5 out of 5 hearts!)

About the Book:
Saranac, Michigan
March 1955

Lizzie Tarleton has always done things her own way—including the time at the tender age of thirteen when she confessed to her brother’s best friend she loved him. But now she’s a new teacher at the local high school, and independent enough to know that you can’t force love. She’ll find love when the time is right—even though her parents are adamant the time is now. The only downfall to her idyllic life is the fact that her childhood crush—who broke her heart—is now her boss. If only she could stop daydreaming about him.

Wayne Whitmore grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and worked hard to get where he’s at in life. Even though he enjoys being principal at the small town high school, he dreams of coaching baseball. When his best friend asks him to watch over his little sister at her new job at Wayne’s school, he agrees. What he doesn’t count on is how she’s grown from the pig tailed kid who told him she loved him, to the woman who breaks his concentration with her beauty and smile. Unable to get over his fascination, and afraid he’ll ruin his friend’s trust, Wayne applies for his dream job—one that will take him far away.

One night while decorating the school gymnasium for an upcoming sock hop, Lizzie and Wayne find themselves alone. They share a kiss and Lizzie realizes her childhood crush for Wayne has never died. Wayne decides he doesn’t want to let Lizzie get away.

Can they come to terms with their secret love and then overcome the other secrets they are hiding in order to get what they each want? Or is their timing for love still off?

My Thoughts:
In the spirit of novellas and the abbreviated slices of fiction they offer, I'll try to rein in my enthusiasm about this book enough to keep this review relatively brief. Here are five things I adored about Secret Love:

1. The cover. 
Visually appealing as heck, with a strong vintage vibe. Feel free to judge this book by it.

2. The vintage factor.  
It's no secret that I'm a lover of all things vintage, so when I saw "1955" in the description, I was instantly intrigued. I love historical romance, but I rarely see anything set newer than the Victorian era. 

3. The writing.
Clean, polished and error-free, and very well edited. I like that.

4. Portrayal of life in the 50's:
I'm still trying to figure this out: since I was born in 1980, how did reading this book make me so flipping nostalgic? I couldn't get over the way the setting was so unobtrusively but unmistakably 1955. It probably helped that I toggled over to YouTube and played the songs that were referenced as I read. The title of the book itself was a catchy Doris Day number.

5. The love story itself.
There's no major trauma, no bullets flying, no fatal car accidents, just a lifelike romance with the emotional stakes that come along with the territory. But this is in no way boring: I found myself falling in love with and rooting for Lizzie and Wayne from page one. They're very likable, realistic characters.

To sum it up all short and sweet? Five hearts.

About the Author:
Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends.

Besides laughing and a good round of humor, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmetic.  A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities.  She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.

Connect with Christine Warner:

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Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Secret Love in exchange for a fair and impartial review.