I chose Ann Christopher’s Redemption’s Touch for review because I read very little African-American romance, and I was curious in which way the character’s racial background was going to be reflected in their story. From my perspective as a European reader, the answer seems to be in nothing really besides looks – this is a rich-people-living-in-a-mansion book like so many others. That minor disappointment aside, I enjoyed the story.
Dawson Reynolds is visiting a fundraiser held at Heather Hill, the mansion of the magnate Warner family. He has been here before, under a different name, and has an appointment for some serious business dealings with the Warners the next day. Today he is just reconnoitering, and so he forgoes approaching the gorgeous woman in the blue dress who captured his attention earlier. No matter, however, because as he is about to leave she follows him, instigates a conversation, and soon after, sex in the conservatory. But then Dawson meets someone from his past who recognizes him, and disappears without saying good-bye.
After a very trying period in her life, Arianna Smith is staying with her aunt, Warner matriarch Arnetta, when she has an amazing encounter with a stranger in the conservatory. She is angry and upset at his disappearance, and astonished to see him again the next day.
Dawson has come because he has a claim on the Warner family, and because he spent several years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He still feels very sore that he received no assistance from the Warners then. In the course of the ensuing quarrel, an older character suffers a stroke, so Dawson is now torn between his anger and rightful demands on the one hand, and his worry on the other, and he has to stay in close contact with the Warners and with Arianna.
The main characters are interesting. Dawson wears a huge chip on his shoulder, but to some extent it’s justified, and the dilemma he is stuck in between anger and caring is present believably. A character trait that is unusual in a romance hero is that he is a deeply and openly emotional person. This makes him appear a bit immature at times, but it also makes for an interesting protagonist and some developments you don’t come across too often. I also loved the way in which his different names are employed to highlight different facets of his personality.
Arianna is not as reckless as far as her actions make you believe at first, and she challenges Dawson again and again as he tries to retreat into feeling ill-used, or finds it difficult to deal with his conflicting emotions. Her background is left a bit too vague for my taste for a long time, but all in all she is very down-to-earth and likable.
The one element in the story I didn’t like was the background provided by the Warner family. There obviously is a lot of backstory, some of which is alluded to, and several heroes past and future make an appearance. They are not actually given that much word count, but I found them distracting nevertheless and would really have preferred this book as a stand-alone.
In spite of this caveat, I found Redemption’s Touch an enjoyable story and can recommend it to those who are willing to put up with a rather cookie-cutter setting for the sake of a interesting relationship and appealing protagonists.