Triona is a high school senior working at a restaurant in Maine. She’s red-haired, green-eyed, and feisty, which is a good thing since she has to navigate a world without her parents, who died when she was young. Fortunately Triona has a helpful supportive cast around her, including wonderful adoptive parents, a brother who mixes in teasing with caring, and truly loving girlfriends who are honest and fun.
Three wealthy brothers own the restaurant where Triona works. When she catches a glimpse of one of the brothers — Caleb — all bets are off. (For some reason I pictured golden-skinned Caleb as a tall, blue-eyed Enrique Iglesias oo-la-la!) Triona’s completely drawn to him but, drat, he reportedly has a girlfriend in New York. Their feelings for each other smolder and then take an unexpected turn, leading to some fantasy and paranormal elements in the second half of the book.
What I liked: I loved the strength of Triona’s character. She’s emotional and her emotions provide her with a sense of passion and fortitude. I really enjoyed Carol’s easy writing style. I’m a big fan of unique descriptions of the hero’s glittering blue eyes, like:
“Staring into Caleb’s eyes reminded me of staring at the flames of Bunsen burners in school, fiery and dancing with blue light.” (p. 43)
I also enjoyed how Triona’s friend Jen was insightful and honest:
“You don’t want to admit this is some kind of freaky, we have to be together, love at first sight connection because your parents died. What you fail to remember is they died in a car wreck and not because they followed their instincts about being together.” (p.63)
What I didn’t like as much: I didn’t really find the whole Seth storyline very engaging, and while John seemed interesting I didn’t feel like I got to know him well enough to have sympathy for him. I happen to find reality fascinating so I’m not a big fan of fantasy, but fantasy-lovers will thoroughly enjoy the twists and turns in the second half of the book as well.
A great debut novel for Carol Oates!