Joanne Skerrett was born in Roseau, Dominica in the Eastern Caribbean. She moved with her family to the United States as a teenager. She has worked on various news desks for several newspapers, including the Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune. She is the author of She Who Shops, Sugar vs. Spice and Letting Loose, published by Kensington Publishing Corp. She is also the author of My Best White Friend and Abraham's Treasure, recently released as eBooks on Kindle. She lives in Boston.
I really enjoyed this author's style of writing. What I liked most about this story was the fact that despite the dysfunctionality (is that a word?) of most of the characters, it was still an entertaining read. I only had a couple of things that I didn't care for. I wasn't wild about Drew and I didn't too much care for the end of the story. Even with those "issues" it was a fast paced enjoyable read.
...I'm on my way to Dominica, one of the settings for Joanne Skerrett's third and most ambitious novel. The other setting is Boston, of course, where Skerrett's latest protagonist, schoolteacher Amelia Wilson, finds life a little on the dull site. It's not that there's no drama in Boston: Amelia's high-school students are disrespectful and unruly, her brother's life is troubling and her alcoholic mother expects Amelia to bail her and Amelia's brother out their never-ending series of binds. To top it all off, her best-friend Whitney is battling a serious mental illness. So when Amelia's roommates, Kelly and James, return from Dominica, a tiny island in the Caribbean and try to set her up with a guy they've met there, Amelia can't help but take a stab at a cross-cultural, long-distance relationship. A few emails and several phone calls later, Amelia's on a flight to the Caribbean. Why not? After all, Drew is rich, smart, handsome and altruistic. But Amelia's golden boy soon loses some of his shine. Skerrett does an excellent job introducing Dominica, its mountainous coastal vistas, its blue-blue waters, green-green trees and a sometimes-rustic existence. (I'm sooo there.) I agree with the previous posters that the story starts slow, but as the novel progresses, it's easy to get lost between its pages. Readers may be tempted to compare Letting Loose to Terry McMillan's "Stella:" A black American woman finds love with a man outside of the mainland U.S., but the similarities stop there. Skerrett's protagonist does find love on an island but the journey is complex and the ending is an unexpected one. Is it a fairytale? Hmmm, not so much. But maybe Amelia is on the road to her happily ever after.
This book took a while to read. Honestly I lost track of how long but for some reason I was determined to finish. I was disappointed. At the end of the book I reread the back and wondered if the person who wrote the back description actually read the book. It just was not steamy enough to be frank. The back description made me think it was going to be risque and that the main character was going to go on a wild adventure. It was not like that at all, and I found myself getting frustrated with the main character a lot. I agree with one of the previous posts that there were some parts that needed to be developed more.
I read this book about a year ago and found it to be quite good. I think the cover tries too hard to present it as just another book about "getting your groove back," and this does the book a disservice. It's a book about a real woman who takes a risk in getting to know a politically prominent, handsome stranger in a foreign land and then has to make real, imperfect choices about what she wants to do with her life. Not being just another "groove" book about sand and sun, there is just the right amount of depth to be found here. To me, it was moderately quick and moderately deep. This is just the sort of thing one wants in a book, seeking neither a purely philosophical tract nor a teenager's indulgence.