Truly, Madly Yours
The cover of Truly Madly Yours is unusual. Somewhat reminiscent of a sixties greeting card, it’s stylized and hip. The book itself is very much like that; it’s very hip, and maybe a little edgy. It has interesting characters and an Idaho setting that really gives you a sense of place. It makes for a humorous and satisfying read.
It’s been ten years since Delaney Shaw has been in her hometown of Truly, Idaho, and she doesn’t plan to stay long. As soon as her stepfather’s will is read, she intends to leave. Unfortunately, the will stipulates that in order for Delaney to claim her inheritance, she must live in Truly for a year. If she leaves, her part of the estate will go to Nick Allegrezza, Henry Shaw’s illegitimate son. Since her inheritance is three million dollars, Delaney decides to stay. But there is another condition to the will. Nick stands to inherit some prime real estate – but he must refrain from sexual relations with Delaney, or he gets nothing.
Delaney and Nick have a lot of history behind them. As a boy, Nick always longed for Henry to acknowledge him, but he never did. His entire family has bad feelings toward Delaney, whom they see as the recipient of a lifestyle that should have been Nick’s. Nick and Delaney also have memories of an intimate night they shared ten years ago, which ended when Henry discovered them together. As Delaney tries to make a life for herself in Truly, she also tries to avoid Nick, but they keep running into each other – and the results are explosive. Sexual tension is high throughout the novel, and the love scenes (and “almost” love scenes) are very steamy. As Delaney and Nick spend more time together, they begin to realize that their feelings for each other go beyond mere lust. But can they overcome their mistrust of each other and the prejudice of their families?
Rachel Gibson has a unique style which I really enjoyed. The sensuality in Truly Madly Yours is similar to that in a Linda Howard book, but it has a younger, hipper edge. The characters talk like younger people really talk. Their language is a little colorful now and then, but it’s realistic. At times it is a little over the top, like when Delaney refers to Nick as a “big batch of sin” that she wants to devour, but most of the time it works.
The main characters are wonderful, especially Delaney. Delaney is a hair stylist by trade, and she’s very trendy. She wears outrageous clothes, and always has ideas about what other people should be doing with their hair. I didn’t realize how starved I was for a character that actually seemed young. Many contemporary heroines spend their days in navy suits or evening gowns, or (my personal unfavorite) slacks. They listen to music that is too old (Nora Roberts is a big offender in this category). Delaney is really a breath of fresh air. And Nick is to die for. He has a reputation as a ladies’ man, but he woos Delaney by installing locks on her salon and buying her snow tires because he’s worried about her. He is a tad too abrasive and arrogant at first, but once he bought those snow tires I was hooked.
The secondary characters are strong, and very much in keeping with the Idaho setting. Delaney’s mother and Nick’s mother are both products of their experience, and both of them find their children to be disappointments. To some extent, they were “villains” – but their actions were always believable. Nick’s brother Louie and his fiancée Lisa (who is also Delaney’s best friend) add to the story. And always in the background are the people of Truly. They are gossipy and nosy, and they keep asking Delaney why she isn’t married yet.
I really enjoyed this stylish novel. It does have the occasional crude remark, which may offend readers who prefer a tamer romance. But if you crave a romance with a hip and humorous edge, I think you’ll like this one.