Desert Isle Keeper
Jill Shalvis has a reputation for writing light, funny, sexy romances. Her latest, Animal Attraction, blows that reputation to smithereens. Make no mistake, Animal Attraction is funny and hot as hell. But it’s not light… it’s moving, empowering, and engaging. I’ve read it twice in the past month and both times it’s made me smile, sob, kiss my husband, and give my dog a big hug. It’s a great book.
Animal Attraction is the second in the Animal Magnetism series. The first book introduced readers to the protagonists of this tale, Jade Bennett and Dell Connelly, both of whom work at Belle Haven animal clinic in idyllic Sunshine, Idaho. Dell is the vet there; Jade, the office manager. Dell and Jade have been working together for the past eighteen months and have managed to keep their relationship strictly business. I don’t know how they did it. Dell is the sexiest, most appealing vet I’ve ever encountered. Despite all that, he’s a man afraid to love. Jade is equally grand. She’s wry, witty, and wounded — an ordeal in her past has made her almost cripplingly cautious. Watching the two become lovers considering love is bliss.
I relished this book. The world of Sunshine is utterly believable and yet — and this is hard to pull off — appealing. Ms. Shalvis writes marvelous dialog; her characters are interesting, realistic, amusing, and people I’d be pleased to hang out with. Dell’s rapport with his brothers Brady (the hero of Animal Magnetism) and Adam are worth the price of the book. The cleaning lady Bessie steals every page she’s on. And don’t even get me started on the animals. I hate cute with a passion and I enjoyed every non-human in this book… especially Peanut the parroting parrot.
There’s a scene towards the end of Animal Attraction where Jade is trying to tell her father how hard she finds it to be true to herself. Her father, great dad that he is, tells her “Oh honey. Don’t ever be sorry for being who you are. Most of us go our whole lives not really getting it right, just settling…. Do you have any idea the strength it takes to not settle? To keep pushing and seeking for what works?”
Ms. Shalvis didn’t settle when writing this book. It’s clear she pushed until she got just about everything right. Oh, here and there, her writing delves into the heavy handed and I hope never again to see any woman’s girl parts described as “ground zero.” But these are small flaws in a fairly faultless book.
I am reluctant to say much more about this book. I don’t want to give away any of its joys. So I will just write this. If you yearn for a contemporary romance with lovers who have heat and heart, secondary characters with verve and humor, a locale you’d love to visit, and sentences that make you laugh and cry, please pick up Animal Attraction. Then plan to stay up reading late into the night. In the meantime, I think I’ll pick it up for the third time. There’s a scene on page 179 I want to read again. And one on page 194… and on page 262…
Like I said, it’s a great book.