Reviewed by Lori Fox
The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus
"In short, her characters are natural."
Caylor Evans is an English Lit professor and a novelist. Dylan Bradley
has been teaching art in Philadelphia and growing his reputation as an
up and coming artist. When he suddenly returns home to Nashville, TN, their
meddling grandmothers decide that they're the perfect pair to send down
The problem? Caylor lives with and takes care of her grandmother since her grandfather died. She just can't leave her grandmother to fend for herself. And besides, any good man who finds out that she once wrote steamy romances under a pseudonym is sure to go running for the hills.
Of course, Dylan is no angel himself. The reason that he's back in Tennessee is because his ex-live-in-girlfriend got him fired when he broke up with her. And then, there's the whole matter of his alter-ego's former job as a book cover artist for racy romance novels.
The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus is the second book in her MatchMakers series. Unfortunately, I didn't get to read Love Remains, book one, before reading The Art of Romance. It's definitely not necessary to read Love Remains before reading The Art of Romance, but, if you're like me, the little hints of what came before will drive you mad with curiosity. It doesn't help that Kaye Dacus is one of my favorite authors, so I already know that it must be a great book.
The premise behind the MatchMakers series is that a group of friends are trying to set up their grandkids. It seems that the purpose is to one up their rival friends by getting their own grandkids married off before their friends' grandkids walk down the aisle. At least, that's the impression that The Art of Romance gives, and I think Love Remains introduces the idea.
One of the things that I enjoy so much about Dacus' writing is that she doesn't artificially drive up tension by having the characters be unbelievably panicky. Yes, they jump to immediate conclusions, but then they pause, and give each other the benefit of the doubt, just as most normal people would. Instead, the difficulties that the characters face are sufficiently large enough to give sane people pause, but not large enough to be insurmountable. In short, her characters are natural.
I think that Caylor may just be my favorite of Dacus' heroines, but there are certainly a few extra characters in The Art of Romance that I'd like to see fleshed out with their own stories. I suspect that Caylor's best friend, Flannery, will be the focus of book 3, but Dylan's 3 brothers are super great guys, and definitely need to be matched up too.
Lori Fox is
a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews
for TitleTrakk.com. In addition
to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt
Disney World as possible with her wonderful
husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.