Thursday, 8 October 2015

Book Review: Justified, by Varina Denman

Review by Andrea Grigg


I’m the first to admit I’m a harsh critic. So if I tell you I’ve not only got Varina Denman’s two books on Kindle but I’ve also bought print copies you’ll know I think they’re really, really good!

Justified follows on from Varina’s 2013 ACFW Genesis Award winner, Jaded. (You can read my review here). Having said that, Justified is a stand-alone novel, and equally as good as Varina’s debut work.
  
Fawn Blaylock is unmarried, pregnant, guilty, and the subject of small town gossip. Luckily, she has the support of Ruthie, (the heroine from Jaded) despite the fact their families don’t speak.

Fawn isn’t on great terms with her parents, either. Not only is their love horribly conditional, especially on her father’s part (I wanted to sign him up for parenting classes!) but they think she should marry the father of her baby, Tyler Cruz, because he comes from a rich family like theirs. More importantly, because it would help get rid of the embarrassment of having an unwed mother for a daughter

Tyler thinks Fawn should marry him too. He doesn’t like the fact Fawn is showing an independent side, but Fawn wants to have as little to do with him as possible. She wants to show the world she can make it on her own, but how can she? She comes from a well-to-do family from which she is now cut off, and has no idea how to cope with being poor.

Help comes to Fawn in unexpected ways. She’s been given a house to live in rent free. It might be rundown and in need of repair, but why would anyone do that? And who is her benefactor?

Ruthie’s Aunt Velma and Uncle Ansel are a big help. Help also comes from their son, local high school teacher and football coach, JohnScott. Quite a lot of help. And Fawn isn’t quite sure how to take it any more than JohnScott knows why he’s giving it. After all, she used to be a student at the same school he taught at which makes them both feel a bit odd. Still, the more he looks after her, the more she accepts and the more their relationship grows.

I really liked Fawn. Her struggles are enormous but she’s determined to do the best for her unborn child. JohnScott is a great combination of tender and torn in his feelings toward Fawn and I warmed to him right from the start.

Again, like I did with Jaded, this Aussie/Kiwi girl loved reading about Texas. Varina writes so well, I had a movie going on in my head, featuring dialogue in a Texan twang and complete visuals of all the characters and their idiosyncrasies. I loved the way the small town gossip was portrayed, laughed out loud at many of the different sayings and colloquialisms, saw the perfectly described landscapes very clearly.

Justified is a fabulous contemporary Christian romance, full of realism in the spiritual journeys, a healthy dose of suspense, and loads of good old chemistry between the hero and heroine. I simply loved it.

Look out for the third book in the series, Jilted, coming soon. Also look out for my interview with Varina next Wednesday. She's a great gal!




Andrea is an author and avid reader of contemporary romance. She has written two novels: A Simple Mistake and Too Pretty.

Andrea would love to hear from you via her website or Facebook page:
http://www.andreagrigg.com/
https://www.facebook.com/author.andreagrigg


13 comments:

  1. Another great review, Andrea, and another novel I should read. I haven't got to Jaded yet but one of the other aspects of reader reviews is that help remind other readers of what's in their TBR pile.

    I'm also drawn to small town dramas and some of my favourite TV shows in recent years have been such, e.g., Friday Night Lights.

    I'm looking forward to meeting Varina next week in your interview, Andrea.

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    1. It's good to meet you, Ian, and I completely understand about TBR piles. There absolutely are NOT enough hours in the day. Too many books ... not enough time!

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  2. Hi Ian - that's a great way to appreciate reader reviews! I like the small town dramas too, and my son loves Friday Night Lights :) Thanks for stopping by.


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  3. Andrea, it must have been your review that prompted me to get Jaded. Having lived in the US Heartland for a couple of years, I found the characters very true to life. Looks like I'm already hooked enough to find out what happens to Fawn!

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    1. Oh, thank you, Rita. I'm glad you enjoyed Jaded. Good to meet you!

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  4. That's terrific, Rita! And you won't be disappointed :)

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  5. That's terrific, Rita! And you won't be disappointed :)

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  7. Thanks Andrea for telling us about this book.

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    1. You're welcome, Dale. Thanks for stopping by :)

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    2. Glad you could stop by the Australasian Christian Writers blog today, Dale. Nice to meet you. :)

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  8. Yes! loved the first book, so glad the second lives up to expectations. Thanks Andrea

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    1. Thank you, Catherine. I'm so glad you enjoyed Jaded. Your words are very encouraging to me. Have a good day! :)

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