30 October 2008

Cassidy by Lori Wick

Cassidy is the first book in the Big Sky Dreams series written by Lori Wick. It takes place in the Montana Territory in 1880 and follows the story of Cassidy Norton. She is a seamstress who has built a decent business for herself in a small town called Token Creek. Cassidy has friends, a loving church family, and more than one man interested in her. Unfortunately, she also has a secret from her past that threatens to show up and wreak havoc with her happy life.

If the phrase "church family" didn't give you a clue, this is a Christian romance novel. Lori Wick is a prolific author with more than 35 novels to her credit, both historical and contemporary romances. Many find her books quite accessible and can't wait for the next one to show up in stores. Unfortunately, this book did not turn me into one of her fans.

There were a few aspects of Cassidy that I liked. Wick set the stage with an intriguing premise and characters that I wanted to learn more about. Being a Christian, I even liked the devotional passages, although they were heavy-handed in spots. Most of the dialogue between Cassidy and her main love interest was sweet. This book has all the makings of being a decent TV movie like Love Comes Softly.

The biggest problem is the writing itself. Wick uses the simplest vocabulary possible. For instance, she never says "azure" when "blue" will do. That means a reader gets the gist of the story but there is little joy in the sound of the words themselves. Even if a novel is plotted according to a tried-and-true formula, such as a romance, you can spice it up with a well-turned phrase or two. At times I felt like I was reading something that was meant to be acted out rather than read for pleasure.

Although there is some violence at the end, it isn't graphic. There are no embarrassing sexual situations for a teacher and student to stumble over. I would say that this book would be ideal for an adult reader who is struggling with literacy or is learning English as a second language.

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