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RAINBOW'S END (Romancing America) Paperback – May 1, 2012
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I have to give this book 4.5 stars and say this is one of the best anthologies I have read from this publisher.
A geocaching adventure in the spectacular Lake of the Ozarks area of Missouri is the setting for a new Romancing America four-in-one. Readers will laugh and cry with four women who set off to find one thing … and discover something else entirely!
Top customer reviews
I loved, loved, loved it!
Topaz Treasure by Valerie Comer
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Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (May 1, 2012)
This single novella is worth the price of the entire book which I intend to read because the theme is so interesting. However, I did not want to wait another minute to review "TopazTreasure", so I here it is.
First I want to point out that all the novellas in "Rainbow's End" are genuine `little novels' with at least ten chapters. (They are not just long short stories.) This means that with each story you get a full helping of 'HEA enjoyment'. (HEA is the 'Happily Ever After' ending experience that many romance fans so highly prize.) Each story is also environment-friendly. Each has many short chapters which speed the story forward with interesting events. The reading experience is excellent.
This first story in the collection reads like the `perfect' novella. The writing is masterful. The author shows the passage of time better and more smoothly than I've seen it done before. When the story unfolds it happens to you. You actually feel it.
Valerie Comer makes exquisite use of physical proxies which involves using body movements to reveal inner states - that is, what a character is feeling. The reader is not told, for example, that a character is worried but is instead made to actually feel that worry along with the character. This is `showing and not telling' at its best. Indeed, this is the kind of writing normally found only in very experienced authors who are at the high of their creative powers. "TopazTreasure" is a rare gem for a debut work.
Examples of feeling along with the characters:
"She pressed her finger against the few remaining crumbs then licked them off. With the last deep-brown fleck gone, she said good-bye to Kirk Kennedy. Like the confection, he'd been a tantalizing pleasure while he lasted. Her gaze drifted to the dessert case. She could get another piece of cake, but her relationships wouldn't be mended by indulging in more calories."
"The waitress reached for Lyssa's plate, which was all but licked clean."
"He nodded, and his whole body relaxed. `It's true we're not all called to be the mouth. I forget that sometimes'."
There was nothing between them. No reason remained to push him away. She leaned back against him, reveling in his nearness."
In addition to 'feeling' this story, there is a marvelous `stand up and cheer' ending! While the ending follows naturally from the story action, it would not have worked without a well developed foundation. That foundation is evident in each chapter.
However, the writing is so masterfully crafted that right up to the end I would have thought this surprise ending would not have been possible. Yet right at the end all the past hints and foreshadowing come together to make the conclusion seem inevitable. I just love seeing the almost impossible made to look easy. I also greatly enjoy being surprised.
"Topaz Treasure" sets a high standard I didn't know was possible to reach. I feel blessed to have read it. "Topaz Treasure" is an inspirational romance that can also serve as an inspiration to writers.
Additional insights: The hero of "Topaz Treasure" is a humanities professor. As a former college professor, I felt a strong affinity towards him. As a brand new professor he taught some very strong anti-religious views which he is now not proud of doing.
The heroine is a substitute teacher who works in her church as a volunteer. The hero is spending the summer helping his brother open a communications store. The heroine is promoting a geocaching event to raise money for her church. She wants the professor to run an ad in the flyer to promote the church event.
As you might expect the conflicts in the story run deep and feel very real. This was not an easy path for the author to take but it was the path that lead to a truly remarkable story. I now look forward to reading the other three novellas in "Rainbow's End."
"Topaz Treasure" - 5 Stars! Earns Highest Recommendation!
I would recommend this book to my friends and have bought extra copies for e few people as gifts...I am sure that they will also enjoy them:)
Kirk is a collage Humanities professer who used to challenge christians in class. Now he is in town to help his brother open a shop. His brother just lost his wife to cancer and is bitter.
Lyssa is shy but she is helping her church sell advertising for their GEO treasure hunting fundraiser. She walks into the store and starts to back out when she reconizes Kirk as the professor who always picked on her friend in collage.
Kirk tries to date Lyssa now does not know she was in his class years ago but Lyssa has walls up.
BENEATH THE SURFACE by Annalisa daugherty
Madison is unemployed and her sister Brook wants her to come and stay with her for the summer. She signed them both up for treasure hunt.
Grant and his grandfather signed on for the treasure hunt for something for both of them to do together.
When Brook & her husband have to leave for a family emergency. Brook and Grants grandfather said let Madison & grant work together.
Madison wears mostly dresses and famous brands and hopes to get a job in NY.
Grant just retired from professional fishing. Right now he is a guide and drives an old dirty truck.
WELCOME HOME, LOVE by Nicole O'Dell
Noah is the one who is in charge of the geocache hunt. He is the minister.
Hadley in the past year lost a 100lbs and is doing the hunt help her feel healthy. She has not seen Noah for 13 years since she saw him kissing her friend. She is angry with Noah but keeps embrassing herself in front of him.
Noah can't forget her. They were friends in thier youth.
Love's Prize by Cara C. Putman
Reagan is an accountant who was being stalked. Her cat was poisoned. So she was going with her brother and his roomate for two months and entering the geocaching contest. Reagan took lots of pictures of the two guys and the scenery but she would not sign the logs and have a record of her their.
Colton was asked by his law school roomate if he would go with them and help protect Garrets sister from the stalker. He was willing to do it and have a two month relaxing outdoors till lawschool started this fall.
Garrets is protective of his sister but he does take off at least one night a week. It was his idea to spend the summer in little town away from the city they lived in.
All four stories were good but feel like a bit was cut out. Thier was some mention of a couple of scriptures that fit in with the stories. No sex or swearing that I noticed. I just wish the stories were a little longer.
05/01/2012 PUB Barbour Publishing
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