Going Home: Roger (Sweet and Sensuous Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Roger grew up in a conservative, religious home, but left the values of his youth to become a bit of a “player” when he joined the Coast Guard. Denise values her Episcopalian upbringing and her parents’ conservative values. While she wants to attend college and have a career, she also hopes to marry young and start a family while still in her twenties. The two come together while serving in the bridal party for Denise’s sister and Roger’s close friend, who marry toward the start of the book.
In the course of the novel, the reader watches Roger eschew his libertine ways and return to the values of his childhood (family, faith, monogamy) as he dates Denise, who makes it clear she is looking for a long-term, committed relationship with an eye toward marriage. The reader meets both characters’ families and spends time with Denise and Roger as they go through their daily lives, dating, planning futures, and spending time together. In places, the pacing may seem a bit slow, with details and descriptions of daily matters explored in depth.
Ms. James writes with a strong sense of place, leaving her readers with a feeling that her descriptions of New York/Brooklyn and Washington, D.C., carry authenticity. She presents a nice introduction to the Coast Guard and military matters. And she doesn’t shy away from some big-ticket items, asking readers to explore issues of race, interracial relationships, and feminism. She introduces tastes of history to help make her points.
At the start of the book, Denise is still sixteen years old and in high school. Roger is ten years older. Denise’s age, and the age difference between her and Roger, made this reviewer slightly uncomfortable. Nothing untoward occurs between the two and there is no sexual intimacy until after Denise reaches eighteen, but for some, these age issues may raise eyebrows. Ms. James, however, does not balk when it comes to presenting the countercultural and gives subtle reasons for her characters’ support of youthful marriage.
This reviewer found the social issues interesting to contemplate and would have enjoyed a deeper exploration of Denise’s mother’s choices—why Denise’s mother has reared her daughters to hold the values they have chosen. Likewise, it would have been interesting to have a deeper peek into Roger’s change of lifestyle—from philanderer to family man. Regardless, the book is likely to spark lively debate about important issues of feminism, family life, women’s life-choices, race, education, and sexual choices. Ms. James, for her part, seems to stand ready with another book on the way to continue the discussion!