Since I’m always happy to support the growing virtual world of authors I know, I jumped at the chance to review Erica Lucke Dean’s debut novel, To Katie with Love. I’ve followed Dean’s funny exploits via a serendipitous connection on Triberr for the past year and a half, so while we’ve never met IRL, I know the intimate mishaps of her daily life as documented on her blog. From the blurb, I could see the same distinct voice I’ve grown to anticipate from her:
Banker Katie James has a serious thing for romance novels. She’d almost rather settle for a fictional boyfriend than risk her heart on a flesh-and-blood man. Besides, the only real guy she’s remotely interested in is her rich, unattainable client, the mysterious Cooper Maxwell.
Looking less like the ultra-conservative man she knows and more like a drop-dead sexy character from one of her books, Cooper crashes Katie’s 29th birthday party. But one too many drinks lands Katie in uncharted territory… Cooper’s bedroom!
Drunk on love, Katie dives headfirst into the relationship only to discover that Cooper is keeping secrets… dangerous ones. As if things couldn’t get worse, her meddling mother makes a surprise visit, digging up a whole new set of problems.
Who would have guessed having an assassin for a boyfriend would be the least of her worries?
The book more than met my hopes. The pace was fast, the writing smart and true-to-life, and each chapter had at least one moment of laughter. It’s a classic bit of humorous chick lit that plays with tropes and expectations in a very clever way, using language that further supports Dean’s characters’ development:
How excruciatingly embarrassing. Well, at least I didn’t have to go on an expedition to find my clothes in order to sneak out. If I didn’t run across my boots on the way, I would simply hike out in bare feet.
And Monday? Well, I had yet to use a single sick day. I could surely invent some horrible illness to keep me from work for at least one day.
Dean threw me back into that tentative, insecure mental framework of a young woman early in her career and still uncertain about how to define herself, let alone a good, healthy relationship. Her headlong dive into a relationship is both predictable and realistic, but Dean throws in enough twists to make the culmination of the story a unique take on the happily ever after required by the romance genre.
For anyone who enjoys contemporary romances with a hint of mystery and a tongue-in-cheek approach, this book is worth the price of admission. Run and enjoy a fun afternoon read.
About the Author
After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica Lucke Dean moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains, where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180lb lap dog, and at least one ghost.
When she’s not writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens and diabolical ducks, she’s either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub. Much like the main character in her newest book, To Katie With Love, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces. How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.