The premise of Tawna Fenske’s Show Time is, in a word, odd. Focusing on the filming of a reality show in the grounds of a cult compound – The Benevolent Order of the New Kingdom in rural Juniper Ridge, Oregon – the (book) series will feature a phalanx of handsome brothers who fulfill the needs of the show’s casting requirements and fall in love while filming the fictional (reality) series. The end result is a funny, though not perfect, romance novel with a fun setting and fun chemistry.
The TV show Fresh Start at Juniper Ridge will rehabilitate the compound into a new, self-contained miniature town that will be staffed by the people they’ve cast together with cops, firemen and other servicepeople. All these inhabitants will also hopefully make for juicy hook-up material that will keep the American public tuned in. Hollywood-royalty siblings Dean, Mari and Gabe Judson are spearheading the production, and as they try to tame Juniper Ridge, they find themselves dealing with all matter of problems, from a cyber-stalker with too much information on all of them to ornery wildlife.
The first romance in the series focuses on production company CEO Dean and Vanessa Vincent, his CFO. The terminally single Vanessa isn’t looking for romance – her truest love is honestly number crunching – and neither is stern Dean. But as that stalker and the rigors of putting the show together begin to push them together, could an outside force separate them for good?
Vanessa and Dean are both amusing characters who have nice chemistry, and the unique setting into which they’ve been plunged doesn’t really overwhelm them. Of course, the problem with that is that the process of their falling in love feels a little predictable and a little by-rote, but that’s not troubling and doesn’t make the book worth marking down too far.
As always, Fenske’s brand of humor shines through, and makes for a comfortable and easy delight to breeze through.
An unusual book with a fun premise, Show Time is a good way to start out a brand new series. It looks like it’s going to be a decent one, and fans of Fenske’s work will adore it.