Talk Me Down (Victoria Dahl)

I am in red-hot fiery love with Victoria Dahl after reading her first two books, the fabulous historicals A Rake's Guide to Pleasure and To Tempt a Scotsman. When I learned that her third book would be a contemporary I felt confident that he might just be the author to get me over my reluctance to embrace modern settings in my romance reading.

Talk Me Down fulfills every hope my frazzled mind generated. Beautifully constructed, populated by fully-realized characters and with generous doses of Dahl's spicy dialogue and trademark humor, the book was just the thing to ease me into straight contemporaries (that is, books set in the current day and age, with nary a vamp or shifter to be seen).

Molly Jennings has returned to her hometown of Tumbleweed, Colorado after inheriting an aunt's house. She's looking for a fresh start and the means to escape the clutches of both a bad boyfriend and writer's block. Soon after her arrival, she runs into a childhood crush, the all grown-up and very sexy town Sheriff, Ben Lawson. The youthful attraction they share flares back to life while each copes with ghosts of the love, loss and disappointment they've experienced since their last meeting. Alog the way Molly finds a place in the very small town.

The book's villianry has a few Snidely Whiplash moment that detract from its ability to have a significant presence. As a driver for Molly and Ben's relationship, though, it provides an effective mechanism to help the protagonists come to terms with what they are experiencing with each other.

Among the interesting criticisms I've read about the book concerned Molly's insistence on privacy with regards to her job and her past relationships. More than one review labeled her in the TSTL category, given the consequences of Molly's caginess where her livelihood and her ex are concerned. As a woman with very definite personal boundaries (my my other blogs notwithstanding) I had no trouble identifying with Molly's orientation on these subjects. In a culture that encourages us to be transparent with every thought, I suppose that a heroine with a none-of-your-nevermind attitue might be difficult to accept. Molly's boundaries, however, directly relate to her family history, sense of personal worth and goals for her future. In this context, the privacy issue makes perfect sense to me.

Talk Me Down was a wonderful initiation into the world of contemporary romance. Those new, as I, to the genre as well as more experience readers more experienced will enjoy a strong, unique voice.


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