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Rainshadow Road: A Friday Harbor Novel    by Lisa Kleypas order for
Rainshadow Road
by Lisa Kleypas
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Lucy Marinn's world is turned upside down when her younger sister Alice is diagnosed with meningitis and almost dies. Lucy soon finds herself overlooked by her parents, who shower all their time and affection on the ailing Alice. She grows up to become a spoiled and needy woman while Lucy follows her artistic dreams as a glass artist.

She lives and works in picturesque Friday Harbor, Washington, and is content with her life and her lover, Kevin - until he announces that it's over; he's fallen in love with Lucy's sister. She's alternately furious that Alice has once again gotten her way and sabotaged Lucy's happiness, and plagued by doubt and bitterness over her apparent inability to make the right choices with regard to her romantic life.

Despite swearing off men and love, it's only a short time later that Lucy finds herself falling for Sam Nolan, a local vintner who has no use for romantic attachments, but who owes Kevin a favour. Sam reluctantly agrees to romance Lucy and 'loosen her up and help her get over her anger'. Despite Kevin's request that Sam keep their deal under the radar, Sam decides to be up front with Lucy. They both agree to a no strings affair, but it's soon clear to both Lucy and Sam that ending their summer romance won't be that easy.

Too many of the situations in Rainshadow Road seem contrived, particularly Lucy's meeting with Sam mere hours after Kevin dumps her, as well as the fortuitous accident that lands her in Sam's home to recuperate. His emotional turnaround after realizing that falling for the right woman can fix anything, also happens too swiftly given his complete reluctance to commit to one woman.

The magical element Kleypas incorporates doesn't really add anything to the already generic storyline either - other than maybe giving the book an added paranormal flavour. In Lucy's case, her emotional attachment to her glass art sometimes brings her work to life in the form of butterflies, hummingbirds and various other creatures. And Sam has a life-giving touch when it comes to growing things. Once each witnesses the other's gift they realise they're soul mates - a concept that's far too overused these days.

Kleypas's engaging writing style did keep me turning the pages to find out what happens next though - and hopeful that youngest brother Alex Nolan's story, Dream Lake, will pack a bit more of an emotional punch.

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