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Monday, August 10, 2009

Luck of the Draw by Teryl Oswald

Luck of the Draw by Teryl Oswald
Publisher: Highland Press Publishing
Genre: Contemporary romance
Length: Full (280 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Love? Money? Career? Family?

An anonymous lottery winner decides to give away a two-hundred-million-dollar jackpot. Failed entrepreneur, Amanda Cash, is tapped by the winner to select deserving persons to receive the windfall. If the benefactor agrees with Amanda’s choices, she will be awarded more than enough money to fund her dying mother’s heart transplant—a million-dollar ‘finder’s fee.’

Complicating matters, one suitor has a secret need for a fortune, while another will do anything for the scoop of the century. Do either truly love Amanda for herself—or are they just using her for personal gain?

Twisty from the start, “Luck of the Draw” sets off on a path that seems to good to be true; but can it all be too true to actually be good?

With a name so apropos, Amanda Cash sets off to ‘earn’ the money she so desperately needs. Love, greed, and even personal inclination must take a backseat to what she guesses the choices her ‘benefactor’ might prefer.

She’s a self-critical would-be entrepreneur with an unlooked for opportunity, desperation, and a broken heart.

Her Mom is, and has to be, one of her main focuses right now. And, husband Erik is unexpectedly demanding. He seems romantic, but his plans are so firmly formed, and so devoid of real emotion, we wonder (or worry) about him from the get-go. More on the husband score will be revealed as you. Then of course there is the charismatic Ryan, who I must confess I favored from the start. Then of course there’s Ben… but let’s not risk spoilers, here. Suffice to say the leading man’s role is not cast right at the start, no matter what you imagine.

Food, yes, all by itself, food makes up an important part of the backdrop here. From enjoying the whipped potatoes to savoring cheesecake to fragrances like citrus, and unaccountable discussions about food (is it true that Tiramisu is healthier than Bananas Foster?) It’s a well-done connecting theme throughout, although it might be important to have an enjoyable snack on hand, while you read this.

This is an enjoyable read. It takes some time and attention because of its array of characters, and the surprising depth even among some secondary characters. Friendship, compassion, grief, all play an honest role her. Amanda is touching in her efforts to help Bud, who lost his wife… She’s a dedicated daughter, and exasperated (or angry) wife. The question really is, is she a good person at heart? And that is what we seek, throughout.

One unlikely event promises to change Amanda Cash’ world… and will she embrace it, or not? Who she is has as much to do with the outcome as anything. This is a well-devised plot, with exceptional characters and some very unpredictable twists. At some point, Amanda’s life threatens to cross from unlikely to the realm of the farce, but by that point, readers are hooked and keep write on reading. Everything is unexpected here. It’s not a fast read, but it is satisfying.