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Friday, January 30, 2009

Cornflower Blue by Kathy Pratt

Cornflower Blue by Kathy Pratt
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 3 books
Reviewed by Ivy

Misty Dawn James’ journey from Iowa farm girl to California girl is at times a bumpy road. The people she meets in California are much more complicated than those she’s left at home. Her Aunt Marigold, an aging flower child, is founder of the “Red HOT Club” for single women over forty. Her friend Jackie’s flamboyant personality and appearance frequently get them into embarrassing and tricky situations. Esteban introduces her to Latino culture in California, and Misty is soon won over by the loving and lively atmosphere that surrounds all of the family gatherings he takes her to. When Misty’s father dies and she returns to Iowa for his funeral, she is forced to make an extremely difficult decision. Can her relationship with Esteban survive the challenge?

Misty arrives in California after escaping the clutches of her controlling mother, just in time to bump into a sexy bartender from The Old Spaghetti Factory. With the help of her aunt and a few quirky friends, she lands a job at the haunted restaurant and finds herself attracted to Esteban—the young man who helped her out her first day in town.

Cornflower Blue is a tongue-in-cheek stab at the stereotypical “sweet” genre of fiction. While most modest romances do not deserve the syrupy categorization, Pratt strides over the boundaries with characters that push the definitions of what is good, bad, and acceptable in today’s society. She keeps her heroine chaste, but defies the reader to cast stones at the realistic cast that accompany her.

Being a sheltered farm girl would make city life tough for anyone, but Misty James must deal with how far she wants to spread her wings. As Esteban allows her into his lovely Latin world, there are choices to make. With her rowdy aunt’s influence and a little help from the restaurant’s resident ghost, Misty comes to turns with all of the possibilities that sacrifice and forgiveness can offer.

This novel reaches for the country-turned-city-girl scenario. Unfortunately, it comes across as juvenile at times, and the ghostly subplot seems unnecessary. However, I did find cause to smile on occasion despite my lack of enthusiasm. The story does not quite fit adult fiction, even in the sweet genre. It’s my opinion that young women and teens will find the trendy setting and theme of independence appealing.