23 January 2015

"Love on a Dime" by Cara Lynn James

Love on a Dime (Ladies of Summerhill, #1)Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

No one in Lilly Westbrook's social set knows she pens fiction under the nom de plume Fannie Cole. Not her family or the wealthy young man about to propose to her. And especially not Jackson Grail, the long-lost beau who just bought her publishing company...and who stirs her heart more than she cares to admit.

It is 1899, and the Westbrooks  are summering in Newport, RI, the playground of the upper class. The Westbrooks are at the outer edge of high society financially, so Lilly's possible marriage to the son of a railroad tycoon would be advantageous to the entire family.  However, Lilly's young man hasn't proposed yet, and her career as a successful author of dime novel romances could jeopardize not only her engagement but also her family's standing in the community.

I enjoyed the characters and the setting of this book, but it suffers from a mild case of what I think of as "Regency disease".  A lot of times when a book is set among the aristocracy, since the characters don't have to work, the book gives us passage after passage of the characters rehashing the same subjects over and over in drawing rooms and ballrooms. At least in a prairie romance, the authors break that up with descriptions of food! In "Love on a Dime", this issue isn't so prominent because there are some scenes in the city where Jackson works and Lilly does some volunteer work. However, I couldn't help thinking that some of Lilly's hand-wringing could be avoided if she would just start telling people that she is the author Fannie Cole.  Every time she listed her reasons for not telling, they sounded more flimsy.  Luckily, the story came to a conclusion just before I was ready to throw the book at a wall.

This is the first book in a series, but it doesn't end in a cliffhanger. From what I can tell, the other two books are set in the same town but with different characters and in different years. This means I don't feel compelled to read them immediately the way I normally do with other series. I do, however, enjoy Cara Lynn James' writing style so I will probably get to them eventually.

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