Talk of the Town
Author: Karen Hawkins
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Pocket (November 18, 2008)
Newly divorced Roxie Treymayne is dying to find out. After years of being the perfect Southern lady, all she ended up with was a cheating husband. So she goes bombshell blond, gets a provocatively placed tattoo, and prepares to live it up as a Bad Girl. But then her mother falls ill, Roxie is forced to return to Glory, North Carolina where, no matter how she dresses now, she’s known by one and all as ‘that nice Treymayne girl.
Once the town bad boy, Nick Sheppard is now Glory’s highly respected sheriff. When the hot blonde he stops for speeding turns out to be formerly prim Homecoming Queen Roxanne Treymayne, Nick doesn’t quite know where to look – though he’d like a much closer one at the tattoo peeking from her shorts.
It's been quite some time since I've had the chance to read a contemporary romance without the influx of paranormal characters or an overabundance of sex. Needless to say, I found Karen Hawkins' first contemporary romantic comedy to a breath of fresh air.
It's easy to sympathize with Roxie, once you know where she's coming from. She was once the good girl, who married a good boy and had a good but albeit boring life. Until the day her husband decided he wanted out. The descriptions of Roxie's crazy antics after she finds out about her cheating husband (as spilled by Roxie's irrepressible former maid) will put a smile on the reader's face for sure. As will the shenanigans she's willy nilly dragged into by the irascible senior citizens she's supposed to taking out for much needed exercise. The result - a murder investigation into a murder that seems anything but.
Readers can also see where Nick is coming from. He's the former bad boy turned good. And now he doesn't want to jeopardize all that he's worked so hard to rebuild, for the sake of an ex-love no matter how gorgeous she's become, not to mention wicked! It's entertaining to see how all his noble-minded ways fly out the window every time he has an encounter with newly-turned-blonde sexy siren Roxie whose sole aim seems to aggravate him while becoming the cynosure of the entire scandalized town and gaining beaus left and right.
The citizens of Glory add to the general chaos what with the randy Mayor, his bimbo secretary, senior citizens who aspire to become like their idol, Gil Grissom of CSI, and other upstanding citizens who think nothing of concealing illegal activities and the like. The resultant hilarity is bound to keep the smile right on the reader's face, even as everything comes to a boil.
There were 2 other side stories going on that I particularly liked. One was the combative/manipulative relationship between two equally strong-minded women - Tundy, Roxie's former maid and Roxie's overbearing mother. This one ended in a way that I quite liked, for it seemed very natural. The other relationship is one that I feel will be getting a story of its own and I was surprised to see it sidelined, instead of being developed parallely in the background.
I generally liked the whole story, even the whole murder mystery bit which was surprisingly good for something that was not central to the whole story. But there were some things I didn't like.
The conflicting relationship that Roxie and her brother have with their domineering mother was an interesting and serious facet to this story. I felt it was resolved hurriedly, and not all that convincingly, in order to get achieve happy ending. Another thing I found objectionable was the sudden growing romance between their Mom and another guy. Again, I could see no reason for this deviation except for a need to provide every character with a happy ending. And perhaps to provide an excuse for the lady's softened mood which in turn made her less combative with her children.
If you're looking for a fun, light-hearted way to while away a winter afternoon, then you won't go wrong by picking up Talk of the Town by Karen Hawkins.
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