Go to Homepage   B.J. Lawry: Desert Heat

 

Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage:two moon gifWriters Club Press (Trade Paperback), ISBN 0-595-15703-3
Jillian Marsh faces her recalcitrant father, David Marsh, feeling more like the parent than the child. She begs, cajoles, threatens, even resorts to tears in her efforts to keep her age 65-ish father from running off to hunt gold in the Nevada desert. She blames that man, Lane Pilgrim, for her father's divorce from reality and this foolhardy venture. But her father sets off in search of adventure and riches, giving her a chance to make a life for herself.

Book: b j lawry desert heat A year later, Jillian still lives in the same trailer and teaches at the same daycare. Then the call comes from the dastardly Lane Pilgrim with the news that she's an orphan. Jillian must trek to Nevada to claim her father's possessions. Although David Marsh dies early in the plot, he remains a vital character throughout the story.

Since this is a romance, we know that Jillian travels west and falls in love. But the trip to Nevada proves easier than the journey to true love. The desert, perhaps the author's strongest characterization, complicates Jillian and Lane's relationship. Lane's responsibilities for David Marsh's death and a past that still haunts him create almost insurmountable problems.

Lawry refers to Desert Heat as a novella, and she takes some liberties with the formulaic romantic plot. The potential for a less-than-Cinderella ending exists, adding to the suspense.

Lawry writes of a scenic and dangerous setting in the Nevada desert. Her plot twists unexpectedly and the romance proceeds to a satisfying ending. She writes a sweet romance in a sparse style that reflects a beginner's lack of finesse rather than a minimalist gestalt. Occasionally she falls into the traps that most new writers struggle through -- cliches, overused descriptions, shaky cause and effect, anorexic characterizations. Yet throughout the book readers can see flashes of the maturing author.

The story lines hint at the rich, creative mind behind this first fiction effort. Lawry's characters possess unique qualities and flaws that readers can embrace. The plot follows an interesting premise, and the writer describes the desert with an authority readers can respect. A strong plus for this novella, other than its brevity, lies in its unpredictability. In a romance, in any work of fiction, that constitutes high praise.

Dawn Goldsmith

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