Thursday, 10 July 2014

Book Review - The Road to Testament by Eva Marie Everson

The Road to Testament
Ashlynne Rothschild grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth. Smart and sassy, Ashlynne expects to inherit the "Park Avenues" magazine empire. But her family has other ideas. Feeling she needs to understand the world beyond, they ship her off to Testament, North Carolina, for a little learning about life." William Decker grew up in a small town with dreams of big-city success. But when the spoiled Ashlynne falls under his authority, her big city ways aren t so appealing. Ashlynne s attempt at learn normal ends with a wounded spirit, while William's reach for the stars attitude ends with a wounded heart. When these two journalists go head to head, the race is on to see if either will succeed in getting what they really want. 

MY THOUGHTS:
Ashlynne is prodded out of her comfort zone and sent to work on a country town newspaper to develop some 'people' skills her grandma thinks she may be lacking. She accepts the challenge, although William Decker, the grandson of her grandma's old partners, is almost more than she can handle.

From the blurb, I'd half expected Ashlynne to be a stereotyped entitled princess type of character who looks down her nose at everyone and needs to be taken down a peg or two during the story. Was I wrong! I was really pleased to find that she was never stuck up at all. Rather than considering herself superior, she had her fair share of deep insecurities and scars from her past, and certainly didn't think of herself as better than anyone else.

It turns out the hero, Will, had the same expectations as my initial ones based on first impressions, but his were all wound up with personal reasons from his own unhappy past. Not having the benefit of seeing things from her point of view, it took longer to convince him of his mistake. And of course, his coming to see the light is part of the fun of this story.

What a character she was, proving that we all have own brands of knowledge gleaned from our unique experiences, and shouldn't judge each other for it. She can identity the brand of Will's aftershave from a whiff as he walks past, and she knows exactly what to do with her napkin on a silver service table and how to apply expensive make-up. Yet she doesn't know enough to take her pile of dirty clothes to a laundromat, and it took her awhile to figure out that her pork dish came from a pig.

I think reading about a woman like Ashlynne is good for those of us who need to see that we may all be pretty similar deep down, where it counts. She over thinks, sometimes tries too hard to fit in, and goes through every email for impression management before sending it. I can relate to all that, although I consider myself nothing like her in most particulars. And best of all, the girl has a quick wit.

A highlight for me was every scene between Ashlynne and Will. Their dialogue is everything a romance novel should have. They start off trying to be civil to each other, then gradually warm up without wanting to admit it. They mask their flirting with semi-hostile attitudes, both knowing very well that the chemistry is there. It almost sizzles through the pages at times.

The other highlight was the serious nature of the themes. Both characters find themselves in situations where their moral fibre is tested, when the right thing to do isn't the easiest or that which will win them most friends. Even in the twenty-first century, acts of extreme courage are called for.

I received a copy from Net Galley and Abingdon Press in return for an honest review. 


Paula Vince is the author of contemporary inspiration fiction with elements of mystery and suspense. She lives in the beautiful Adelaide Hills of South Australia, which she draws on as the setting of most of her stories.

12 comments:

  1. Sounds like my kind of story, Paula! It's now on my TBR pile. Thanks for the great review.

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  2. Hi Andrea, yes, I'm sure you'll like this one.

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  3. Paula, great review! I love reading books where the sterotypes are turned on their head and the characters surprise us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

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  4. Hi Narelle, I agree, they can be surprising and challenging. Always a pleasure to recommend a good one.

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  5. Great dialogue and sizzling chemistry is some (a big part) of what engages the romance reader. So good to hear this book hit the mark, Paula. Thanks for the review. :)

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    1. Hi Dotti,
      I agree with you about the sizzling chemistry. There is a real skill to writing it well. And dialogue has always been one of my favourite aspects of a novel.

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  6. Thank you so much for your review of my book, Paula! I am pretty excited to see that you understood Ashlynne and William the way I wanted them to be. Both hurting. Misunderstood. And that Ashlynne wasn't spoiled because of the way she was reared, she simply didn't know anything else. It was a LOT of fun to write. If your readers want to join me on Facebook, I can be found at EvaMarieEversonsSouthernNovels (there they can see some of the actual photos from the REAL Testament) or at my blog: www.EvaMarieEversonsSouthernVoice.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Eva,
      I'm so pleased you've visited. It's a pleasure when an author confirms that we were on the right track. I found your setting and characters most enjoyable, and will check them out on your blog, so thanks also for the links. I have a couple of your Cedar Keys novels on my kindle too, which I look forward to reading.

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  7. Good review, Paula. As if I needed another book for the to read pile ...

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    1. Hi Iola,
      TBR piles are always being expanded. Never a dull moment :)

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  8. I love character based novels. Especially when drawn with the skill Eva Marie uses to great advantage. Yes, Paula, definitely a must-read!

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    1. Hi Rita,
      Yes, I'm one of those who starts with characters before plot. A good combination works well, but I always prefer the emphasis to be on the characters rather than plot, if we have to choose one or the other.

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