Desert Isle Keeper
I Think I Love You
When was the last time you read a book that left you laughing, smiling, and overall feeling great? I hadn’t had one of those books in a while – until I picked up Stephanie Bond’s latest. I Think I Love You is the story of a dysfunctional Southern family whose secrets are finally catching up with them. That may sound like a weeper, but the only tears you’ll be crying are from laughing too hard (and, well, maybe a tear or two of sympathy).
When Justine, Regina, and Mica Metcalf were teenagers spying on Lovers’ Lane in Monroeville, North Carolina, they unwittingly witnessed the murder of their nasty Aunt Lyla at the hands of an unknown assailant. The terrified trio agreed not to tell for fear they’d be next. Years later, the sisters are all grown up, but fractured – you see, Mica ran away to Hollywood to become a model on the morning of Justine’s wedding. And she took Justine’s groom with her. Mica and Justine haven’t spoken since. Now Regina, the reliable, under-appreciated middle sister, finds herself called home to deal with the split of her never-married parents and the auction of their antiques store. Much to her surprise, Justine and Mica both arrive home on the run from the messes they’ve made of their respective lives, and are none too pleased to see each other.
Sibling rivalry isn’t the sisters’ only problem, though. The man convicted of Aunt Lyla’s murder has just succeeded in getting a new trial, and Regina suspects that maybe the three should come forward about what they witnessed. Both her old boyfriend Pete Shadowden, the sheriff’s son, and Mitchell Cooke, the sexy lawyer-turned-appraiser, seem just a little too interested in what Regina knows. And Justine succeeds in enticing her old fiancé back to Monroeville, not knowing why Mica left him behind in Hollywood.
The real strength of this story lies in the characters and the witty writing. In particular, Justine and Mica are not your typical heroines. Justine is a bossy harridan who delights in bullying her underlings in the cosmetics business and seducing married men, and Mica is a pill-popping, boozy diva who can barely get out of bed to go to her hair-modeling sessions. In a lesser writer’s hands, these characters would be stereotypes, but Bond manages to make them understandable and real even when they’re at their least heroic. Regina is more of a traditional heroine, but she’s no less likable for this. Regina’s the chronically overlooked peacemaker of the family, but she’s also smart, gutsy, and persistent. She’s also a bookworm-turned-editor, and the scene of her at work was fascinating. I’m especially thrilled with Bond for creating a heroine who loves her career and is good at it, too. The three sisters’ scenes together sparkle, whether they’re fighting or plotting. I’ve never been a big fan of the traditional women’s fiction storyline of coming back to your hometown, but Bond’s wit and honesty kept me turning the pages.
With a title like I Think I Love You, there must be some romance in the story, and while it’s not the focus, Regina’s love story is very enjoyable. While the book may not end with a mass wedding, I have no doubt of very happy endings for all involved.
This is a tough book to classify by genre, so I’ll just recommend it to fans of romance, comedy, women’s fiction, mystery, suspense, chick lit, Southern fiction, Jennifer Crusie… In fact, the only reader I wouldn’t recommend I Think I Love You to is one who doesn’t like to have a good time.