Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Kara Isaac's "Close to You" - a fun novel with a Tolkien theme

Close to YouAllison Shire, a disgraced scholar, is hiding from the world as a tour guide of the Lord of the Rings movie sets in New Zealand. After so many tours she's seen it all--from Tolkien purists to utter frauds. And Jackson Gregory, an annoying addition to her latest tour, is definitely a fraud. Jackson hit rock bottom when his girlfriend took his company secrets to his biggest rival, and now he's tagging along with his rich, eccentric great-uncle, pretending to be a Lord of the Rings fan in hopes that it will win him an investment in his business. But to do that he has to keep Allison from exposing him, and he does not make a brilliant first impression. However, as he and Allison are continually thrown together throughout the tour, they both begin to see things a little differently. Can they overcome their pasts to take a chance at love?

Like so many readers, I was drawn to the book by the Tolkien theme, and I had to laugh at the people portrayed on the tour. Some obnoxious, some hilarious, they were definitely in the fanatic category. I enjoy Tolkien, but there were bits of trivia I hadn't known, and it brought out all the great controversies between the books and movies.

While Lord of the Rings plays a strong role in the story, ultimately it's about two broken people finding their way to healing and love, with a lot of humor and explosive scenes along the way--sometimes both at the same time. Boy, can they make fireworks! The romance happened very quickly--the tour is barely there weeks, after all--but it was still fun. All in all, it was a highly entertaining read with a good deal of heart.

1. Close to You
2. Can't Help Falling 

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