Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fiona's Flame by Rachael Herron (2014)

Fiona's Flame takes us back again to the warm and comfortable streets and beaches of Cypress Hollow, where the dear departed master knitter Eliza Carpenter's words provide a crafy backdrop to the  action that takes place in the narrative. This fourth installment focuses on the romantic travails of the lovely Fiona Lynde. Not a knitter, Fiona is a mechanic who owns and runs Fee's Fills (the local garage) and makes jewellery from vintage car scraps. She has had a serious crush on the gorgeous Abe Atwell ever since she saw him rescue a kitten from a mailbox but hasn't spoken to him for years. Abe has been firmly off the market since he was left at the alter nine years ago, focusing instead on being harbourmaster and developing his whale-watching business. Their worlds collide when their development plans for the local lighthouse differ. Fiona wants it demolished and turned into an accessible park; Abe wants it restored and turned into a museum.

As the novel progresses, we find out that Fiona and Abe are in different ways driven by their pasts. Abe's father, who was much loved by Abe and Abe's mum, died in a boating accident. The lighthouse was a special place for Abe's father and it is there that each year Abe and Abe's mother celebrate his memory. When Fiona was young, she lived in the lighthouse with her father and alcoholic mother, and has only sad memories of the place. Will they be able to resolve their differences and, at the same time, deal with the ghosts of their past?

This is a romance novel, so of course they will, but not until after the requisite misunderstandings and make-ups have occurred. As with all of Herron's books, there are nice secondary characters and a good sense of place. This book is an enjoyable visit to a familiar, comfortable place.

I have two minors quibbles the book though. My first the random explicit language. For example, Fiona and her friend Daisy are discussing the cuteness of Abe's friend Zeke and Daisy drops into conversation how she "get[s] wet" when guys talk about budgets on dates. Obviously it's part of a joke between Fiona and Daisy but the phrase is really out of context with the gentleness of both the genre and the conversation. (I should note here that I had the exact same criticism about her last book, so it's clearly an author quirk, but I don't like it. Not because it's explicit, but because it's jarring because it feels so out of context). Secondly, I wish there were at least one LGBT character. But these are very minor concerns, so please don't let them put you off.

A nice, quick easy read. Three stars.

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