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Lingering Dreams (Sweet Teen Romance) (Norma Jean Lutz Classic Collection) (Volume 6) Paperback – February 11, 2017
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Norma Jean Lutz has a fondness for ‘sweet teen romances’ – light but meaningful romances that forego the technical driven line of communication that plagues our youth today and instead focusing on one on one communication and relationship development in the world some may label as ‘yesteryear’ – a time when life was gentler and sweet romance could develop without the need of cellphones, texting, selfies, dating apps, etc.
Her synopsis offers the outline of the story in this rather brief but luminous little book – ‘Shy, quiet Kirsten Nicholson’s life on the sprawling family ranch in Oklahoma has been one of serene predictability. In fact, her rancher father, Carter, detests change. But changes galore explode when seventeen-year-old Enrique Delaire arrives on the scene. Wearing his “Bronc Busting’s a Kicker” ball cap, his Nikes, and his surfer shirt, Enrique is ready to ride. And ride he does, not only into the hearts of this family, but into the hearts of this entire rural community. Enrique is the foster son of Kirsten’s aunt and uncle from Albuquerque. They sent Enrique to help out on the ranch while Kirsten’s fiancé, Dan, is away at farrier school in Colorado. Kirsten has always been content to stay on the sidelines watching life go by, quietly writing her songs and playing her guitar alone in her room. Now all she hears is Enrique Delaire saying: “You won’t know if you don’t try.” In the wake of Enrique’s encouragement, she finds herself stepping into the limelight in ways she never dreamed. Suddenly doors open to Kirsten and difficult decisions must be made. Will she make the right decisions? Or slip back into her old life of sameness?’
The answers to the questions posed are woven in the prose that flows through this book. Book such as this may seem ‘old-fashioned’ to today’s teens, but they are beautifully molded stories of how people need people can find something beautiful in simply living. Grady Harp, February 17
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
In front of this backdrop "Lingering Dreams" is a welcome change, set as it is under open skies among horses and populated by people who still use "WIB?" instead of "WTF?" Kirsten Nicholson is center stage of the novel, but if she'd known that at the beginning of the novel she would have stopped Ms Lutz from writing it, as center stage is definitely not where she'd see herself. Along comes a catalyst...
If you can guess (broadly) where the plot is going, you've missed the point. A certain amount of predictability belongs to romance novels, as does a certain amount of sweetness. Ms Lutz doses it well, and even if I'd expect certain antagonists to be a little meaner and (as mentioned) certain others to be more flawed, I found it refreshing to have a shot of pure, sweet goodness on paper. Despite the lack of obvious flaws, the main characters come across as believable and relatable, and the story kept me engaged and up too late more than once.
If you like stories where happiness and positive change comes from good people doing good things, I recommend this one.
Note 1: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Note 2: WIB = What in blazes
This talented and skilled author immediately develops and defines the characters in the story. Added to the cast of characters is her father's brother’s foster son Enrique, almost 18 from Albuquerque New Mexico who comes to work on the ranch with them for the summer. Kirsten was assigned the task of picking him up at the bus depot. Along with Enrique came another boy he met on the bus, Davy, just 12 who is deaf. He had run away from a terrible foster home. He could not be returned to the Foster system for a few days so Kirsten and Enrique bring him home to the ranch. This was not well-received by Kirsten’s Dad, on ornery man who is stuck in his ways and very strict. The writer is brilliant in her character depictions. They each come to life as does the ranch life style setting. While reading you I was there with them at the table, smelling the fried chicken and biscuits.I was then brought into the :barns and corrals with their distinctive farm animal aromas and sounds. Enrique’s interest in a recluse old man who lives in an old cabin nearby causes unrest for Carter and even Kirsten. Enrique persists without any doubt.
The writer sets the stage well so her readers know Enrique is going to change all their lives. Including the old man in the cabin known as mean ole Gafney. He and Kirsten made plans to visit ole man Gafney after Enrique had written him a letter and Mr Gaffney responded in kind. The meeting was absolutely amazing at his little cabin that was far nicer than kirsten would ever have imagined. I could feel the warmth and gratitude and I could feel Kirsten’s change of heart and loathing of herself for having avoided this gentle man who was just lonely and wrongly judged by her father and the tonw folk
The authors emotional depth of the characters is so heartfelt. Kirsten is seeing and feeling life very differently because of Enrique. She is pursuing her misic and for the first time she is standing up to her father - a brave move indeed. Enrique and Kirsten plan a special gift for her Dad to have his childhood saddle fixed that has been in disrepair for a long time. They bring it to Ralph, old mr. Gaffney to fix. They presented it to Carterjust before Christmas. For the first time Carter is moved to tears and shakes hands with Ralph. Meanwhile a blizzard is coming so Dan won't be coming home and the family is bracing themselves for the big storm. Their best Christmas ever.
This book is about coming into oneself, about changing and letting go of old ideas and ideals that are not your own,, about seeing people differently without judgment, following dreams and taking chances. If ever any of this has been true for you, this book will enlighten you, inspire you, bring you to laughter and tears and give you courage to do what you need to do to be your own unique best self and to live your truth.