A Kiss to Dream On
Neesa Hart’s A Kiss to Dream On makes for a fine read. Ms Hart, who has written historical romance as Mandalyn Kaye, tackles deafness not only as a personal problem, but updates readers on the current politics surrounding this disability. With such heavy material as a backdrop, it’s difficult to imagine integrating a believable love story, but the author pulls it off well. I think you’ll enjoy this one.
Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Jackson Puller is in bad shape. This empathetic writer witnessed the brutal death of a boy he was writing about in Bosnia and has been in a tailspin ever since. Why not head on over to the offices of Dr. Cameo Glynn, his boss suggests, and do a series of columns on her Wishing Star foundation?
Dr. Cameo Glynn was born deaf, but with the aid of her Cochlear implant, she is able to live a normal life. Well, relatively able, that is. After all, her dead father was a Senator who had no time for imperfect people. That pretty much excluded her mother, who, while Cammy grew up, had longer and longer bouts with mental illness. And, it most certainly excluded Cammy. Beautiful, sterile, and with a tremendous distrust of journalists, she is unprepared for the emotions Jackson Puller inspires.
Even with darkness hovering over his soul since his days in Bosnia, Jackson is still a heart-stopper. He’s got a way with children that melts Cammy’s heart. The fact that he’s drop-dead handsome, funny, and kind cause quite a conflict for Cammy, who decided long ago that she could never satisfy a man for long. Though Jackson senses Cammy’s reticence, he decides to do whatever it will take to win her over. He wants her – for keeps.
So Jackson prepares to battle Cammy’s defenses, which includes taking her home to meet his family and refusing to leave her side when her verbally abusive mother attacks her in the hospital. In addition to these knightly deeds, he just plain loves her as any woman would want to be loved.
Those of you looking for a romance that integrates an issue of substance will find it here. The narrative is in no way detracted from by the inclusion of the politics of deafness, and the dark place from which both characters have emerged serves to heighten the reader’s joy in their happiness.
And now for the niggles: A Kiss to Dream On features a hero who is a bit too fabulous for belief and a heroine who carries her baggage a bit too tightly and a bit too long. One other flaw is the lack of dialogue tags – you know, the “he said” and “she retorted” that set off pieces of dialogue. Their lack is noticable in this book. Several times I had to re-read a section of a scene in order to figure out who said what to whom. Sometimes I tried two or three times. Sometimes I gave up. And, finally, Cammy’s sterility is an issue that seems somewhat artificial. While sterility can be quite effective in a historical romance, its place in a contemporary novel when there are all sorts of alternatives didn’t ring realistically to this reviewer.
Though Jackson is slightly too good to be true and Cammy is slightly too determined to avoid a lifelong commitment, I enjoyed getting to know them both. The secondary characters were well-written and believable as well, including Cammy’s mother and Amy Patterson, a deaf child near and dear to both their hearts. And, the contrast between Cammy’s mother and Jackson’s warm-hearted extended family was nicely done. This one gets a solid recommendation – read it and feel good.