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Alissa Baxter: Send and Receive

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Oshun Books, ISBN: 1-77007-034-6

Book: iris johansen, countdown
South Africa boasts a growing canon of home-grown writing, and the local publishing houses ensure that readers enjoy a wide variety of stories and genres to choose from. I lack the time to indulge in a romance-a-day book habit, but Alissa Baxter's Send and Receive looked like just what the doctor ordered for those times you need to recline on the couch with a box of mind candy.

The tale of Angie Wilson, a twenty-something aspiring romance writer, took me on a delightful romp with Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong and the cast of new friends that Angie met when she relocated to a new city to write her first novel. Now I know romance novels ought to be set in some far-off idyllic setting, and indeed, readers from most parts of the world will enjoy as exotic Baxter's portrayal of one South Africa's favorite holiday destinations. But the familiar South African setting enchanted me far more than any paradisiacal island could have done.

Such rare pleasure to read about places that one knows so intimately that one can relive the experience as the pages turn. Even more thrilling to read dialogue laced with idiom so familiar, so everyday yet at the same time so rarely encountered in fiction. Were I a South African abroad I would have wet the pages of this book with tears of homesickness.

But as a fifty-something woman, I realized that I am perhaps not dead center of the target readership for this book, so I passed it on to my kewl teenaged niece whose literary taste runs little further than text messaging. The verdict from her? Some mildly complimentary adjectives belied by my sister's report to me that her daughter read the entire book through without once laying it aside.

Moira Richards

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