Book Review: THE REASON IS YOU by Sharla Lovelace

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Publisher: Berkley
Released: April 3, 2012
Source: Review copy from the publisher

In the small river town of Bethany, Dani Shane never fit in. Being different pushed her to the fringes of society, and even leaving town for two decades didn’t stop the talk. Now, with her sixteen year-old daughter Riley in tow, Dani is back in Bethany looking for a fresh start. Too bad her plans for staying under the radar are about to be thrown out the window.

Mischievous and sexy, Dani’s old friend Alex still has the power to rock her world, but there’s a big obstacle standing in their way–Alex has been dead for forty years. With a ghost popping up at inopportune moments and sparking conversations with her teenage daughter, Dani scrambles to find solid ground and get a grip–both on her sanity and her heart.

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I have to start by saying that Sharla Lovelace is going on my auto-buy list. Wow! I loved this book. THE REASON IS YOU is an impressive debut novel about love and loss, family bonds and family secrets, redemption and starting over. Oh, yeah, and also ghosts!

The last place Dani Shane wanted to end up was back in her hometown of Bethany. But that’s exactly what happened when she lost her job at a Dallas design firm. She and her teenage daughter, Riley, had little choice but to move to the sleepy river town where Dani takes a job at the local bait shop.

Growing up in Bethany, Dani was treated like an outcast, and twenty years later, nothing has changed. Dani has the ability to see and talk to ghosts, and only a small handful of people know her secret. Most of the town considers her a “freak” who talked to people who weren’t there.

Dani becomes very concerned with she sees Riley talking to Alex, her best friend from her teenage years, and also a ghost. This is the first time that Dani noticed Riley shared her special “gift,” and she is scared for her daughter. Dani only wants Riley to have a normal life, something she never had. Dani’s situation gets more complicated when she falls for her new boss, Jason, a man whose emotional baggage rivals her own. And, Dani finds out that dead-for-40-years Alex’s connection to her goes so much deeper than what she thought.

Ms. Lovelace has an amazing voice, and I loved her writing style. I was completely absorbed in this story, and I felt like I was wrapped up in the lives of the characters too. At times this was a heartbreaking story, and it definitely stirred up my emotions. (I shouldn’t have read the last few chapters in public! *tears*) Though, it wasn’t all sadness; it was also funny and uplifting, with witty dialogue, like when Jason and Dani would playfully argue about who had the biggest sob story from their pasts. I also loved Dani’s sassy friend Miss Olivia. She had me grinning many times. The characters were intriguing (both living and dead), and the dynamics between them were beautifully written. I think the book wrapped up with the perfect, bittersweet ending. I would highly recommend THE REASON IS YOU to fans of romantic women’s fiction.

Rating: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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