Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Guest Reviewer Week! Shari Broyer (@shariannegaylee) reviews Mending Fences by Lucy Francis

Mending Fences by Lucy Francis
Reviewed by Shari

4.5 stars

She was the first woman to turn him down.
CEO-turned-rancher Curran Shaw is no stranger to hard work, but women have never required much effort. When a mysterious brunette at a resort-town Halloween party sparks his interest and then vanishes, he vows to finish what she started. It's finding her that's going to be the hard part.

He was her fantasy, and that's all he could ever be.
Victoria Linden has reconstructed her life and soul from the devastation wrought by an abusive ex and her own failures. She desperately wants to be loved, but what man will agree to the control and limitations she needs in order to hold herself together? Especially a man like Curran, who's used to getting whatever he wants. Walking away from him after a searing kiss is her only option.

When serendipity brings them together in the snowy mountains of Utah, will Victoria and Curran be able to mend the fences in their hearts, or will discovery and heartbreak tear them apart?

Mending Fences is approx. 70,000 words long.
(Amazon Product Description)

Lucy Francis demonstrates that she has the multiple gifts required of a first-rate writer: masterful mechanics; skillful scene-setting, captivating characterization (she is equally adept at getting inside a man’s head and revealing him as she is able to show us the secret heart of a woman); and powerful plotting.

From page one, there is mystery. Both hero and heroine have secrets to keep, secrets the reader wants to know, so we keep reading. The sizzling sexual chemistry that ignites between the masked Shaw and the mysterious lady in black as the story progresses also kept me in thrall. I liked the fact that both hero and heroine are flawed and that the taboo subject of spousal abuse is explored within the confines of this romance. I loved the portrayal of Victoria as freelance writer, realistically dressed in her pajamas in midday, poor enough to have to house sit, etcetera. Francis has a unique turn of phrase that either made me chuckle— “Her stomach flip-flopped when he licked the residue from his lips. She could have done that for him. Really.”—or brought me deeper into the scene—“Yeah, and if anyone tried that now I’d give them explicit directions to Hell.” Lucy also very skillfully kept the suspense level high, and there’s a twist to the climactic scene that readers won’t want to miss.

However, I was disappointed with two things in this story:

1) After maintaining sexual tension so well throughout the book, keeping the couple at an impasse, when they finally do “connect” the scene is definitely anti-“climactic”; it’s too commonplace. I expected more of the high combustibility that was there at the novel’s beginning.

2) There is a point in the novel when Curran is given notice of a charitable event at the children’s hospital. I fully expected this to be used as a device to bring Victoria and her past “failure” face-to-face, and possibly deepen the rift between her and Curran, and it didn’t happen. I think Lucy missed a great opportunity to bring more angst to the story as well as to create an even more satisfying reconciliation at the conclusion.

Still, it was a great read. I very much enjoyed this first novel in her Heart’s Redemption series. The second, Finding Refuge, is upcoming, and I want to read it, too!

I give Mending Fences 4. 5 stars for plot, 5 stars for character development—including that of Peg-leg and Sassy, secondary animals—and 4 stars for the love story for an average of 4.5 stars. Francis is an author to watch.

Shari Broyer aka @shariannegaylee
Author/Ms. Editor for Hire

Shari Broyer is a writer, manuscript editor for hire, facilitator of her own writers’ group, mother of two and grandmother of two (yes, she’s old enough!). She was born on the shore of Lake Erie, Ohio and now resides in Mesa, Arizona. She loves to read and will read anything as long as it captivates her. Shari is the author of Ether Man, and the short mystery, Petty Theft, (both in Kindle format on Ether Man (“Not your normal paranormal!”) is her first novel, but some of her poems and short stories have been traditionally published, and she has won several awards for her writing. She is readying a family Halloween story, entitled The Cat Who Would be Black, for release on Kindle Select this week. You can read more about her at

No comments:

Post a Comment