Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jericho

Jericho
Author: Ann McMan
Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company, 2011
412 pages

I'm not a huge fan of the romance genre, but sometimes it's refreshing to break out of your comfort zone and try something new. On the advice of a friend, I gave Jericho a try. I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed it.

I love the southern Appalachian mountains, and the main locale of the book is a tiny mountain town in western Virginia called Jericho. The descriptions of small town life were spot on, and the local characters reflected a rural/small town diversity that exists but is rarely shown in works of fiction. I appreciated this busting of stereotypes.

The main characters are Syd and Maddie, but I see Syd as being the "main" main character. As the book opens, she's in the process of moving to Jericho, where she plans to take an 18-month position as a librarian. This move is a big deal for Syd, as she's freshly divorced and at a sort of crossroads in her life. Maddie is a very attractive physician who lives in an awesome house and is friendly with everyone. The two women develop a quick friendship and their lives become intertwined through a series of events that are at times painful, and other times hilariously funny.

Three other characters that bring a great deal of life to the book are David, Michael, and Pete. David and Michael are a couple who own the local inn, which contains an awesome restaurant, of course. Long term friends of Maddie's, they add a lot of humor in tense situations, and they have Maddie's best interests at heart. Pete is Maddie's totally awesome dog, who steals several scenes and is the kind of canine companion that everyone wishes they had.

Jericho is a fine read, and one of the most well-written LGBT-themed books of any genre and probably the best romance novel I've ever read. Kudos to the author for focusing first on friendship, and on nailing the geography and culture.