Reviewed by Lori Fox
"Tangerine is the most realistic and fully fleshed out book in the series so far."
Twenty years ago Jean Guerra’s husband hung out with a rough crowd in New York. She begged him to let go of the past and think about his own future and his family’s, but Nigel Salvador felt that the Good News had to be spread among his comrades in arms from the war in Vietnam. After all, God had made him whole, how could he abandon those he called friends to their fate? Night after night he wandered the streets, leaving his family to fend for themselves, to reach those of little or no faith. Soon, he was arrested for a crime he never committed. Trying to stop a friend from committing a crime left his fingerprints all over a gun he didn’t even own.
Devastated, Jean is left to raise their daughter alone--a task she doesn’t feel up to. Within years, their savings are depleted as she pays legal fees trying to get her husband freed from jail. When their teenage daughter becomes pregnant, Jean feels she only has two choices. Continue fighting a losing battle for her husband‘s freedom, or leave the fight and care for her daughter. She chooses her daughter.
Now, Jean’s life seems to be coming together. Her daughter is grown, and her teenage granddaughter seems far too smart for her young age. She’s working at Garments of Praise where she is surrounded by people who care about her, and she’s finally come back to the Lord after years of resentment and unbelief.
When Reebok approaches Garments of Praise to start a sporty menswear line for the NBA, Jean is chosen as the head designer, along with one of their own to be her partner. It seems perfect as Jean’s only real source of discontentment in her job was her desire to return to menswear. She agrees, and preparations begin. But when her new partner turns out to be a handsome man from her past, Jean wants to run. Is she ready to put aside her grievances of the past, and accept the love that she didn’t even know was there?
Tangerine is full of emotion. Jean, feeling abandoned by Nigel twenty years ago, feels that she can’t open up to her own husband. Then, or now. And Nigel, who desperately wanted to find his wife and daughter and be a family again feels rebuffed and unsure how far to pursue her. Added to this, their daughter has become an alcoholic, their granddaughter who usually has much more sense, has begun to hang around some boys who can‘t be trusted. And worse, one of the women that works with Nigel at Reebok is in love with him. As hard as Nigel is pursuing Jean, this woman is pursuing Nigel even harder.
I still feel that Doug LaCroix from Jade is my favorite male from the Shades of Style series, but Nigel Salvador comes very close. His heart has been in the right place from the beginning, it was only his head that was focused in the wrong direction. While ministering to those who served with him in war is a very noble, and even Godly thing to do, he neglected his own family to do it. He never stopped loving them, but forgot to make sure that they felt it.
Jean is a major source of both comfort and irritation for Lily in Jade, but in Tangerine you see her weakness as well as strength, and this makes her a much more real person. When she thinks Nigel would be happier with someone else, she tries to take herself out of the equation for his sake--or so she thinks. We, as readers, can see her fear of rejection motivating her as strongly as her love, and her guilt.
I loved Flex and Raya in Pink, and I loved Doug and Lily in Jade, but Jean and Nigel in Tangerine were so real as a loving, married couple, that I really believe this is my favorite book so far in the series. I’m excited to read the fourth book when it comes out, but Marilynn Griffith will have to work very hard indeed to beat Tangerine.
Through it all, Tangerine is the most realistic, and fully fleshed book in the series so far. It presents a more mature, mellow kind of love that most of us can relate to. Many romance novels seem to be about finding true love, this one is about holding on to that love, watching it grow, and reaping the rewards.
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.