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Monday, April 4, 2011

A Little Bit of Passion by Beate Boeker

A Little Bit of Passion by Beate Boeker
Publisher: Avalon Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (186 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Karen Larsen calls herself a modern gypsy because she has split her life into two perfect halves. In winter, she's a skiing instructor in the Teton Mountain Range; in summer, she works at the bookstore she owns on Long Island, New York. But one Easter holiday, John Bermett and his son Gerry join her skiing group, and her perfectly balanced universe is shaken. John is the owner and CEO of ON!, the largest electronic equipment company in America. Though there is an intense mutual attraction, Karen feels that dating John would disrupt her free-spirited lifestyle. She works through her internal struggle in e-mail correspondence with her best friend, Leslie Carter, co-owner of the bookstore.

Can she overcome her need for independence and find a compromise between her single life and the man who might be the love of it?

Always be independent, a lesson drilled into Karen by her mother, threatens to undermine Karen’s chance at true love and happiness. Even considering a different life style scares her beyond belief. She is content with minimalistic living space—a tiny attic room in the winter and a small trailer near the ocean in the summer. They make her feel cozy and protected. After a failed marriage, she treasures her independence and has no desire to be tied down with material things.

She is okay with her gypsy style life, but as a ski instructor on the pristine ski slopes of the Tetons, Karen meets all kinds of people, but keeps her distance most of the time. However, the loud-mouthed man that she silently calls “Turtle” is hard to avoid since he is in her class and totally obnoxious with his sexual innuendos and antics. But the handsome, sensitive John Bennett and his teenage son Gerry offset the undesirable, creepy “Turtle”. They create a feeling deep inside Karen that she has never known before. The magnitude of the feeling scares her.

When her plans fall through for her summer trip, John and Gerry ask her to come for a visit in Seattle where they live. She remembers Seattle as a wet, dreary place that she hated, but she longs to spend time with John. She finds herself in an alien, rich, opulent world that she fears will swallow her up. Her independence is threatened. Yet, she knows she loves John and his son like she has never loved before. When John proposes, Karen runs to her Long Island home where she and her best friend Leslie own a bookstore. She has to think and gain perspective.

Leslie, Karen’s confidant as well as her business partner vacations in Seattle. Things get complicated. While Karen and Leslie email each other almost daily, they fail to communicate about important things—things that seem destined to destroy Karen’s chance to love and be loved. She fears John prefers Leslie over her from what Leslie writes in her emails.

Some of the secondary characters make life difficult for the main character, but little Ben, even with the chicken pox, is an absolute darling who sees right into Karen’s aching heart and offers to marry her himself. He is a sparkling bright spot in the story and creates humor that lifts the spirit.

A Little Bit of Passion is a series of emails that tell the story. These emails, whether sent or not, reveal that Leslie and Karen have a unique tie. But they fail to communicate information Karen needs to keep her heart from breaking. Her outpouring of her hopes, fears, and despair pulls the reader into her world, while Leslie’s shorter missives keeps one from really knowing her. This format made me feel like I was on the outside looking in on the action much of the time, and I wanted to know more about the characters. However, some of the descriptions are breathtaking and give the reader a sense of being right in the snow that glistens, in the multi-colored glow of the sunsets and in the cozy attic room. One can almost feel the damp of Seattle, the cold in the Tetons, and so much more.

A Little Bit of Passion is somewhat of a play on words because Karen, John, and Gerry reach out for life with all their energy and ability. They are passionate about life and what they do. One wants them to have the very best life possible, and little Ben, while filching John’s orange mousse, sets things straight so that special happy-ever-after can happen.