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Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage:three and a half moon gifBET Books (Paperback), ISBN 1-58314-185-5
Leslie Esdaile's Love Notes offers a refreshing twist by focusing on the romance after the wedding vows. Frustrated wife Nina Carpenter watches helplessly as her marriage fizzles from the competing demands of her husband's nightclub. She wishes Tony would confide in her about the club, sharing the highs and lows that self-employment brings. Even finding time for a discussion proves difficult, and when rare opportunities present themselves, an argument frequently ensues.

Book: Leslie Esdaile, love notesMeanwhile, Tony faces financial pressures from the foundering nightclub. His brother, who should act more like a business partner, lacks the strict work ethic that Tony demands. The profits mysteriously disappear, leaving Tony in the red, month after month. Tony's desire to be all things to Nina, providing for her every comfort and wish, adds to the emotional pressure weighing him down. Tony's failure as a businessman and a husband hangs on him like a well-worn coat.

But once Tony makes the decision to sell the nightclub and pursue a business that he and Nina can work together, obstacles and challenges explode onto the scene. First, the nightclub goes up in flames and someone shoots Tony's brother. The police consider Tony their main suspect. Then, Nina's best friend Vonetta, pursuing a life-long fantasy, propositions Tony.

Book: Leslie Esdaile, Love lessonsEsdaile gets an "A+" for originality with her use of a childhood rhyme to interconnect every character in the story with another character. At times, Love Notes confuses the reader with its too rapid resolution of subplots concerning Nina's parents, Tony's parents, the police investigating Tony and Tony's brother's romantic liaisons with three women, one of whom has a child that the family learns about at the end. It appears that Esdaile plans a sequel featuring Vonetta, but Vonetta's attempted seduction of Tony makes her unattractive, and her redemption seems too easy.

Esdaile writes with a strong, enjoyable voice. She realistically captures the problems that couples face, along with the emotional baggage from their respective families. With the precision of thought expected of a good defense attorney, she stands up for the role of romance, the pleasures of shared ecstasy and the purity of love.

Gabriella Samuels

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