Better Together

Better Together, City Owl Press, a romance in e-book, copyright and written by Jessie Gussman.

Plot: Harper Bright, is the daughter of a woman married to the uncle of Wyatt Fernandez, a young man raised by his uncle when his father, owner of an exclusive ski resort in Chili, was too busy to raise him. As such, she had always considered him as a half-brother whom she had grown to enjoy as a wonderful and trustworthy friend. During the growing years Wyatt often was off on exciting, frequently perilous trips on various continents, financed by his father, returning to his home at the uncle’s Pennsylvania farm between trips. Dual participation in a local adventure with unexpectedly dangerous results suddenly changed Harper’s feelings with respect to Wyatt to a deep love. He had harbored similar feelings for more than ten years. Now both were hesitant to express their attitude for fear of ‘losing their best friend’. The situation exacerbated when Wyatt’s father pressured him to return to Chili to help him with the family business that was to be his eventually. He does not want to leave Harper with whom he is convinced he can not do without. Similarly, Harper definitely does not want to move to Chili for several reasons. She has gradually advanced to a PhD in nutrition, with a vote soon to be taken with respect to her promotion to tenured Research Professor at the university. Furthermore, she had an underlying fear of leaving the security offered for which she had worked so hard. And actually she did not even like to travel far from the farmland home in which she had been raised. Yet, she believed she was so emotionally attached to this man she could not do without him either. The steps taken by the two to solve their dilemma provides the substance of this tale.

Discussion: The author provides an interesting situation where two totally opposite individuals experience the growth of a sincere love interest arising from development of a friendship that gradually had grown through a number of years. It further describes the insecurity such persons might experience in attempting not to injure the remarkable relationship already developed by moving too rapidly to the next level. The settings are skillfully done and the characters believable. A caveat from probably the only reviewer who found some of the interaction between the protagonists somewhat ‘overextended’. However, this is a story that will greatly appeal to lovers of heartfelt accounts of ‘nice’ people working through problems together to attain a mutually desired goal.

4*       5* for most romance devotees; -1 apropos this reader’s caveat.




Spectrum ISBN: 9780998964805, published, copyright and written by Shelia M. Sullivan.

The story opens with Frances Olar Kavenaugh, one of the children of a large devout Irish Catholic family living in Missouri, who is completely grounded in the edicts of the church. Her first career love was art but was severely frowned upon and cancelled by her parents. She obtained a PhD in economics and began a career in consulting. Successful but unhappy with the choice and in spite of gaining a very lucrative career, she decided to become an artist, abandoned her lucrative career, and moved to San Francisco and rented a studio. She married a man who began to control her life, a partner selection probably influenced to a greater or lesser extent by her mother’s controlling tendency and the strength of the religious influence. Now finally divorced she has moved into a loft converted it to a studio, and rejoins friends she deserted during the two-year period of marriage. The friends in her “Buena Vista Irish Coffee Club are a motley group consisting of husband and wife Russell and Simon, Cheryl and Winter who was supposed to help her reenter the dating game. The group discuss the various prospects, although Winter’s help is somewhat curtailed with her involvement with Jason. The discussion leads to further thought on Francis’ part, Nathan, a highly successful art dealer accepts her work and the story continues following her journey to ‘find the true Francis and a satisfying way of life and love.’ Along the way she finds a number of interesting characters of both sexes, experiences ecstatic love and disappointment, discovers unrealized facts about members of her family and is threatened by a matter that she had completely overlooked.

Discussion: This is the first book in the F.O.K. (Francis Olar Kavanaugh) series. It follows the life of this young woman from a seemingly somewhat dysfunctional family as she, accompanied by zany friends, moves through life in a rather confused manner discovering alternative romantic attachments and unsuspected danger along the way. It is well written, providing often amusing incidents and interesting characters. At times it is a little slow moving and contains many ‘side issues’ that, although not seemingly pertinent to the plot, do contribute to the entire tale.

4* A well done tale of a young woman’s alternative life style investigation.