Her Best Bet
Grade : B-

What would you do if tucked inside the invitation to your ten-year high school reunion was a letter you’d written as an 18-year old, describing your hopes and dreams for the future - dreams you're nowhere close to fulfilling? That's the premise of Pamela Ford's Her Best Bet. While not without problems, I found it to be an enjoyable read, and one I can recommend.

Izzy Gordon dreamed of making movies in high school and planned to live a fast-paced, exciting life in Hollywood. Instead, she's traffic manager for a minor cable station in the Midwest. Spurred on by her best friend, Izzy enters a contest to create a documentary film and gets selected as a finalist. Problem is, Izzy has to actually make the film before the reunion, so she can tell everyone she's made it as a filmmaker.

Izzy's documentary is about a resort in northern Wisconsin rumored to have been a summer get-away for Chicago gangsters during prohibition. Her family owns the land, but the Murphy family has run the resort for years. Izzy’s best friend – a local weather person – goes with her to be the “star” of the documentary. Upon arrival, Izzy overhears a conversation indicating that her family plans to sell the land, giving the Murphy family 30 days to make a counter-offer. Determined to make the documentary, Izzy registers at the resort under a different name, so that no one - in particular the attractive Gib Murphy - will find out who she really is.

Gib, a photo-journalist, is back to recover from shrapnel wounds he incurred in Iraq. Gib hated the resort as a child and couldn’t wait to go off and see the world. While he intends to leave as soon as he recovers, his grandfather and brother are trying to get him to save the resort. It’s run down, business has dropped off, and neither his brother nor grandfather are the managers Gib could be.

I liked Gib right from the beginning. In addition to dealing with the problems of the resort, he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, and is unable to pick up a camera. He genuinely cared for his family, and ultimately wanted to help with their problems.

It took me longer to warm up to Izzy. She’s been dating the “perfect” man – good looking, dull, respectable – who thinks they’re engaged because Izzy didn’t have the guts to come straight out and say no to his proposal. He didn’t accept her dream of wanting to be a film maker, and instead wanted her to settle down and have children. I also had problems with just how long Izzy kept her identity a secret from Gib. However, I enjoyed watching her warm up to Gib, as well as some of her exploits involving the film.

There were some interesting, non-cookie-cutter secondary characters in the book, in particular the grandfather and brother. I liked that Izzy’s best friend came with her to the resort, and enjoyed their friendship.

I loved the sense of place in the book. I’ve stayed in northern Wisconsin and Michigan resorts, and this really took me back to those places. I found the whole resort as a gangster-hide-out interesting. Ultimately, I wouldn't mind trying the author again.

Reviewed by LinnieGayl Kimmel
Grade : B-

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : December 11, 2009

Publication Date: 2009

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LinnieGayl Kimmel

My first memory is sitting with my mother on a blanket in our backyard surrounded by books and she is reading one of them to me. My love of reading was encouraged by my parents and it continues to today. I’ve gone through a lot of different genres over the years, but I currently primarily read mysteries (historical mysteries are my favorites) and romances (focusing on contemporaries, categories, and steampunk). When I’m not reading or working, I love to travel, knit, and work on various community projects.
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