Thursday, June 26, 2014

REVIEW - One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch


Can a stack of long-hidden love letters from a WWII war hero inspire a heartbroken woman to love again?
Reeling from a bitter divorce, Adrienne Carter abandons Chicago and retreats to the sun, sand, and beauty of Southern Florida, throwing herself into the restoration of a dilapidated old Victorian beach house. Early into the renovations, she discovers a tin box hidden away in the attic that reveals the emotional letters from a WWII paratrooper to a young woman who lived in the house more than a half-century earlier.

The old letters—incredibly poetic and romantic—transcend time, and they arouse in Adrienne a curiosity that leads her to track down the writer of the letters. William “Pops” Bryant is now an old man living in a nearby town with his handsome but overprotective grandson, Will. As Adrienne begins to unravel the secrets of the letters (and the Bryants), she finds herself not yet willing to give up entirely on love.
2.5 Stars - Your choice
This is so NOT for me! If you love syrupy overly-sweet stories, then pick this up. For me, this was a DNF! I couldn't get past Chapter 4 on this one. It's not realistic, and even though it is fiction, I still need to feel a sense of realism to any story, and this had none because it is just too sweet. The main character, Adrienne, throws out sayings such as, 'Before buying my house, I'd never heard of Bonita Springs, Florida'. Well, of course not! There are a lot of cities you never heard of until you end up moving to a new city from another state! Someone had steered her to move there, and wouldn't you just know it, the sickeningly sweet love letters she had found in the attic of that house ended up being written by a man who served in WWII, is still alive, and is living near her. She decided to go to his home asking to speak to him, but the  man who answered the door who happened to be his grandson, and he told her no. He is worried about his 81 year old grandfather, specifically for health reasons. He was extremely specific (and a little rude) on that very visit she would not be talking to him. She left, but she must not have understood because now she decided to take these same letters to a coffee shop and read some of them out loud to strangers, more or less asking their opinion as to what she should do about them and the man who is still alive. She conveniently left out the part where she had already gone to his home and was told NO. Of course, after showing these sappy, emotional letters around, people were encouraging her to definitely go talk to the man. (Had they known she went to his home once already and was told NO, I'm sure they would not have encouraged her to go a second time.) What do you think would have happened the second time she would have tried it? I would assume the same reaction, if not worse. In thinking of where this story is headed, I'm going to assume that this hard nosed Grandson will, by the end of this story, end up falling in love with her. Just from the description you can guess this is how it will end. 
I mention this story is sappy, and here is an example. After talking to one of the men in that coffee shop, here is what she said as she was leaving. 
"Thanks for your help, Leo." "Good Luck." Adrienne bid Leo good-bye with a new zeal squelched only by the pang of sadness about Gracie. (Gracie is the woman whom William wrote these letters to.) But William had returned from the war, and now she couldn't help but wonder what he'd come home to. It had been a bittersweet homecoming, no doubt. A whole new barrage of questions accompanied her as she drove the palm-lined streets toward home. How could anyone not love a man like William Bryant?
Okay, that's enough! How can she really know what kind of man William is just by reading a FEW letters he wrote to a woman in the heat of the war? That is the clue here. Of course letters will be much sappier when you are staring at death in your face. 
Now, just because she found letters in her attic, does this give her ANY business to make it her own? No! The Grandson already told her 'NO' once, and he has a very good reason for it. So why is Adrienne taking it upon herself to stick her sweet sticky nose where it doesn't belong? 
The paragraph I quoted goes on to say she is wondering if in these letters there is something to hide, or someone with a secret. It seemed like they were hidden, among many other 'assumptions'. 
To quote some more, "She gets home and parks the car hearing it tick. Beyond the windows she hears the birds, but right now their song wasn't soothing.' A few sentences later, 'Only six years ago she had thought her world was going to be fairy-tale perfect. But there was no 'happily ever after'. We have already heard this about her life several times already. How many more times are we going to be reminded her first marriage did not work out? 
Okay. I've done my 4 chapters of this book and I'm throwing in the towel. I can't go on! This is tooooooo sickening sweet and predictable for my taste. I like my stories to be realistic, and I don't like to be able to guess how they are going to end. I especially don't want to read about her changing William's grandson's disposition and get him to fall in love with her so she CAN have a fairy tale ending and live 'happily ever after'. Fiction or not, life is not like this.
Perhaps some of you will find this book very fitting for yourselves, and a great escape to indulge into, but I personally can't read the rest. Maybe this is something 'you' will like to read, and if so, go for it, but I can't. I'm used to strong main characters who don't need reassurance from other people, nor do I believe in fairy tale lives or happily ever after, but I do believe in falling in love, maybe getting married, and living a good quiet life together despite the tremendous amount of work it takes to obtain that. Next book, please!
I got this book from the Kindle First program, which I'm glad I did! The cover looked enticing, and this is exactly why we don't judge a book by it's cover!

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