Publication Date: March 8, 2013
In Champagne and Lemon Drops by Jean Oram, Beth Wilkinson has always had very specific dreams growing up in Blueberry Springs. When her fiancé, Oz, breaks off their engagement so that he can find himself, Beth is determined to win him back. In her bid to win Oz back, Beth attracts the attention of Nash, the town’s dashing new doctor. Beth discovers love and her future may not be as simple as she thought.
Alice’s lament in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it” could fit Beth Wilkinson perfectly. Beth is a character that believes she’s going into her situation with eyes open and then does everything she can to destroy whatever progress she makes.
Beth isn’t an inherently unlikable character. She’s self-involved and self-indulgent. I’m willing to bet we all know someone like her. Oz has the hometown advantage but from the moment we meet him, we know Oz is maybe not the best choice for Beth unless he changes completely. Not content to just leave and go find himself, he is emotionally manipulative of a woman that we’re supposed to believe is smart. Don’t get me wrong, intelligent people can fall victim to emotional manipulation, but Beth is so aware that the reader must surmise she knows what’s going on and just likes the flashes of attention. There was also an issue I’ve mentioned before in that the author did not build a believable connection between her characters beyond that their private parts snapping together.
I am a fan of this genre and really thought the idea of the story was a good one. The execution left something to be desired. The writing is shallow and the author chose to accentuate peripheral scenes while leaving others, in which readers could gain real insight into the characters and thought processes, unwritten. Beth goes to Paris with Nash and is really excited about the trip and planning, and then suddenly it’s over and she’s left with memories. Who wants to go through packing a bag with a character to not get any of the vacation time? This is only one example of shallowly written plot points. That the whole town cares about Beth so that they will go to lengths to keep her from making a bad decision is sweet, but it is not believable in the way it was written or the context of the story. Suspension of disbelief, you may wish to remind me. Yes, but sometimes belief cannot be suspended as far as the need demands.
While all for the element of surprise, the ending just didn’t fit with the story. Champagne and Lemon Drops really had the potential to be a stand-out novel. It is cleanly written and the idea was fitting for the genre but the reality fell short.
Champagne and Lemon Drops is a novel that drags on. Had I not been reading to review, I would have stopped reading about halfway through. Champagne and Lemon Drops has 152 five-star reviews on Amazon.com so there are people who did like the novel. If you like romance, be sure to check out their reviews to see if Champagne and Lemon Drops is suited for you.
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