The Backup Plan
I picked the new audio version of this 2005 release for a mini-review for the Speaking of Audiobooks column. By the time I finished listening, I realized that I liked it so much, that I felt it deserved a full review. Filled with fully developed characters, a good sense of place, and an interesting secondary romance, this is a contemporary romance that I can heartily recommend.
Dinah Davis has been a network television correspondent for years, most recently in Afghanistan. She hasn’t recovered from the events surrounding the death of her cameraman and lover, and her producer encourages her to take a break. Rather than take a temporary leave, Dinah resigns and returns home to Charleston to pursue her backup plan: Marrying Bobby Beaufort, her teenage love.
Bobby proposed to Dinah ten years earlier, but she declined in favor of pursuing her career. Now, marriage to sweet Bobby seems like a good alternative to her dangerous career. When Dinah returns to Charleston, things aren’t as simple as she’d hoped. Suffering from depression and panic attacks, Dinah spends most days inside her parents’ home watching television, afraid to go outside. When she finally does go out to look for Bobby, she encounters his bad boy brother Cordell instead.
Dinah knows Cordell only as a troublemaker from their teenage years. When she discovers him lounging in a hammock in front of his home, she assumes he’s never done anything with his life; bad assumption. Cordell has developed a successful restoration business, and is currently working on restoring a plantation Dinah’s mother is involved with. When Dinah asks Cordell for help finding Bobby, all he’ll tell her is that Bobby’s out of town.
Cordell doesn’t want Dinah anywhere near his brother, first, because his brother is engaged to another woman, but, more importantly, because Cordell has feelings for Dinah himself.
Dinah feels a strong attraction to Cordell, but fights it, convinced that she needs the peace Bobby could offer her, rather than the danger she’s convinced Cordell would offer. I liked the slow development of Dinah and Cordell’s relationship, and his recognition of her serious emotional problems. I wasn’t sure that I liked Dinah at first, but as I learned more about her, I came to like her a great deal.
There’s a fascinating secondary romance involving Dinah’s mother and father. Rather than distracting from the main story, I was just as interested in this one as in the main love story. I liked a number of the other secondary characters, including the therapist Dinah goes to and her best friend.
With regard to the audio version, I had a bit of trouble initially figuring out who was speaking in the introductory conversation between Dinah and her boss but, after that, never had any problems following the story. I’ll have to admit that I expected strong southern accents but none appeared. Narrator Tanya Eby did a good job with the male characters and it was easy to distinguish between characters.
The label tags this one as part of the author’s Charleston Trilogy, and I intend to seek out the other two books in the series, I liked this one.