Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'When Baldwin Loved Brenda' by Electa Rome Parks

When I posted on FaceBook that I was reading this book, Electa commented that "she hoped I was enjoying her first romance novel.”  Erp! Scooby says what?  I was like "why did she say that?  Now I'm going to have to burn this damn book". (Just kidding). Maybe. Romance novels have about as much place in my reading library as vegetarian cookbooks have in my kitchen.  But I went ahead and read it because... well it's my girl Electa.

I do not think this book is romance though. So if you're a guy like me who avoids romance novels like Dr. Phil's fake therapy sessions, you'll be OK reading this. As usual Electa brings us a relatively short novel that is full with story. Four (very tight) college friends reunite after the death of one of their own. It's been ten years since they spent time together and coupling that with losing a dear friend too soon, this makes for some pretty dramatic storytelling.  But along with the storytelling there is a puzzle that Electa lays out.

How did these friends, who were so tight in college, lose touch?  WHY did they lose touch?  What is Bria's secret?  Does Christopher really want give up his very successful bachelorhood?  As the novel goes on we see the puzzle start to form. There are a couple shockers in this book as well and the last one will really get you.  Although I will say that last one felt a little... "weird".  Almost like it could have been left out and the story would have been just fine. My honest-to-God reaction when I read that was, "What?  Why put that in there now?"  I'd like to know what you think about it. Electa's books are always great for book clubs and I would love to find one and discuss the ending to this book.  

This book was also very emotional from time to time.  The very beginning of this book has an opening that will pull you back to reread after you’ve finish this book. The scene at the church?  Oh good lord, are you kidding me?  “Kleenex for $200 Alex”.  And while I did enjoy this book I will say that this isn’t one of her better ones.  If you’re a fan of Electa’s then yes read it.  If this is your first jaunt with this author then might I recommend any of her earlier work.  And I do many any of them.  In my opinion this is the only “hiccup” she’s had.  Not a bad read, but not up to the standard that she shown in her previous works.  


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