ON A RING AND A PRAYER
Twelve years of marriage, 4,000 square feet of dream house, and a handsome husband. Jessie Stanton has it all... until one fateful afternoon when she notices her BMW bouncing by the window behind a tow truck. Her husband has gone, and he's taken it all.
The whirling tornado that cuts down the life she's built drops Jessie onto the sandy beach of Malibu with a thud, penniless and alone. When all she's left with are the designer labels in her closet and the dreamy Neil Lane rock on her finger, Jessie tries to make ends meet by pawning her prized ring to fund a new business venture: a small shop where her designer duds and shimmering accessories are temporarily leased out to Southern California women with champagne tastes but root beer realities.
As Jessie tries to rebuild, she realizes she can't move on, not without answers. Reluctantly, Jessie turns to beach bum/private investigator Danny Callahan for help. But is she staking her future success and happiness...on a ring and a prayer?
Intriguing start to a new series but beware, this book is very much the first of three so it's open-ended in many respects. And if you really don't like cliff-hangers do not read the teaser sample of book two, Be My Valentino included at the back of this book! To be fair, the author did warn her readers right before that excerpt, but I didn't listen so serves me right. :-) I'm not a fan of serial type series but as far as they go this one isn't as cliff-hangerish as some...as long as you don't read that tease from book two!
While a departure from Bricker's usual comedic style, she hasn't abandoned that light-hearted manner altogether. There's still humour mixed in with the drama but there's definitely something heart-tugging about Jessie's little girl lost persona. And no wonder, she's been blindsided by her husband's betrayal. I'll be candid -- I liked Jessie a whole lot more by the end of the read. I had her pegged as shallow and self-serving by the first few pages but what's really enthralling about her story is how she finds herself again as she strives to turn 'life lemons' into lemonade.
Danny is a big reason for her success. A scruffy surfer dude PI, he's also a Christian who lives his faith. His good works go a long way towards bringing some stability into Jessie's life. She's not always appreciative -- adapting to her sudden loss of lifestyle takes some getting used to and not always graciously.
This is by no means a Pollyanna type story though. Jessie is a little too self-depreciating for that. And she's prone to wallow. Luckily she has some amazing friends to help her navigate her new reality. And the author treats us to periodic glimpses into Jessie 's youth through the memories of her Louisiana grandpa. A pretty amazing technique to reveal her background and help explain how she has come to the point she is at in her life now.
The only thing I had an issue with in this novel is the burgeoning romance between Danny and Jessie. Not because I found Danny unlikeable -- far from it. BUT Jessie is married. Yes, she's been dumped in the most horrific way by her husband and she's begun living a single life but she isn't divorced. I found that storyline really surprising -- even shocking -- in a book published by a well known Christian publisher like Abingdon. The romance is just at the beginning stages by the end of On a Ring and a Prayer and things sort themselves out as the story continues but this one aspect still bothered me.
Having said that, I'm still a fan of this series and am committed enough to follow through with these characters to the (hopefully) happily ever after on the horizon by the end of book three, From Bags to Riches, which releases this month.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of A Ring and a Prayer please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday March 13 2016 . Offer open to international readers. Good luck!