If work is your everything, where does life fit in?
Publisher: Carina Press
First Published: 4th June 2012
Date Reviewed: 21st June 2012
Cam was quite happy living at the camp until he heard Anna was coming back. Remembering her as an irritating ten year old he’s not exactly prepared when the beautiful woman arrives at the house next door. But Anna doesn’t plan on staying long as she’s looking for a new job in the city, and as Cam knows that she’s career-driven, the odds she’d stay for him aren’t in his favour. He keeps his thoughts of kissing her to himself, but inevitably that won’t last for long and it remains to be seen how Anna will view their relationship.
Slow Summer Kisses is a fun novella that uses romance as its backbone to talk about living for yourself. This may not have been the goal in Stacey’s mind, who knows, but if ever there was a lesson to take away then this is it. Cam is more of a rural boy, not literally, but in that stereotypical way we as a society have of thinking of such a person as lacking drive. Anna is his polar opposite, career-focused and happiest when in a suit. The whole idea behind their relationship being considered a fling is that both are set in their ways, and whilst they are attracted to each other they aren’t willing to sacrifice their respective lives for the other. Stacey moves through these concepts – the self, the desire to live your dream, compromise – that despite the short length managed to be discussed well enough to make an impact on the reader. They might not be discussed as thoroughly as, say, a lifestyle coach’s manual, but the fictional aspect, the romance and realistic characters, mean that you learn it from a perspective of experience. And it really doesn’t matter that that experience has been gained by two people who only exist on a page.
The characters. Cam is a good hero, and while he may share the protective elements of the Kowalski men of Stacey’s backlist, he is of a very different mould. Indeed if you are a fan of the Kowalski series do not expect this book to be in any way the same because barring a similarity to Keri’s job in Exclusively Yours, it isn’t. But then that isn’t a bad thing and the difference allows Stacey to explore new ideas, as previously discussed. Anna is an intriguing character. At once she is one person and another, and that makes her accessible to any reader – readers who prefer their female characters to be more traditional, domestic, and readers who prefer women to be working just as much as their partner does. Stacey’s writing of Cam succeeds in creating a bias against Anna at first, which is rather clever really because it means that the reader comes to love Anna at the same pace as Cam, albeit that the reader’s love is platonic. You get to know the characters very well in the short time it takes to read the book as they are finely written. The story is driven equally by characters and plot, but it can be hard sometimes to factor in just how important the plot is, the characters taking all your attention.
She was painting the top edge of the window trim. And she was doing it by standing on a step stool, which was balanced on the table she must have dragged over to the wall. She was going to break her neck.
“Dammit,” he yelled without thinking.
She stopped painting and looked over at him, one eyebrow raised.
“Why are you doing something stupid while I’m trying to avoid you?”
“Why are you trying to avoid me?”
He growled and shoved his hand through his hair. “So I don’t kiss you again.”
“You don’t have to avoid me,” she said. “If you don’t want to kiss me again, don’t kiss me.”
“I do want to kiss you again. That’s why I’m avoiding you.”
“Ah,” she said, as if it made any more sense to her than it did to him. “Maybe you should just kiss me again and get it over with.”
The relationship seems to happen very quickly, rather it does happen quickly. This can jolt you out of the story for a time but it is the reasonable result of the book being a novella. However there is a great attempt to slow things down. That “slow” is in the title is telling because Cam wants Anna to slow down, to relax, and of course their relationship becomes part of that.
As for the passion in the relationship there are a few sex scenes that are detailed but not particularly graphic. And as usual Stacey has given her characters a good sex education and they are responsible each time.
Slow Summer Kisses takes a quick story format and asks “what’s the rush?” In the same way that Cam teaches Anna to live in the moment and love it, so the story shows us that a lesser word count doesn’t mean a hurried or lacking tale. Perhaps the best part is that the book demonstrates that women can be breadwinners just as much as men, and, as such, are just as liable nowadays to let life run away with them as their male counterparts.
Pull up a chair, get your knitting out, and read this book. It’s what Cam suggests, book aside, and you might just find it works for you too.
I received this book for review from Carina Press.
June 24, 2012, 11:52 pm
Sounds like a fun summer read (even if I am hopeless at knitting!) :)
June 25, 2012, 8:27 pm
Sam: Oh here too, my knitting leaves much to be desired! It’s fun to have made clothes though, even if they’re not too good.