Thursday, April 7, 2016

CLOSE TO YOU by Kara Isaac ~ Reviewed

About the Book:
A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

My thoughts:

This novel is a treat for Tolkien lovers. I enjoyed reading this book. The character development, setting, and conflict all delighted me with their richness and detail. I love Kara Isaac’s writing voice. She provided distinct “voices” for each character as well. Beautifully done.

Though I wouldn’t call myself a meticulous Tolkien fan, I did read The Hobbit and enjoyed all of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films and the commentaries. This book allows the reader to tour the set of the movies with the characters while they deal with their own personal battles. Watching the sparks fly between the hero and heroine as they hate on one another is loads of fun. I’ve never read a novel like this and was immediately intrigued with the premise when I read the blurb.

A few aspects were uncomfortable for me to read, like one of the characters almost getting sick from nerves. The image of scrambled eggs “crawling up a character’s throat” still sticks with me. Also, the mixed moral messages coming from the story-long conflict about the heroine’s past relationship vs. her budding one with the hero grew questionable for me at times. I won't say anymore since I don't want to reveal any spoilers. Otherwise, this was story was a lot of fun and made me want to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for myself, not to mention re-view all the films.

Kara Isaac has a gift. I look forward to reading more of her work. I'm especially excited about her next novel, Can't Help Falling, which releases in October of this year. The story is about a couple of
C.S. Lewis fans whose love story involves a wardrobe, an antique shop, and a mysterious teacup.

*The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Comment Fodder:
Have you ever read a book which featured in its plot one of your favorite books, authors, or movies? Tell me about it in the comments! 

***The winner of our last giveaway of a Kate Breslin book is Pam K. Congrats, Pam! I'll be in touch with you shortly.


  1. I'm always pleased to find references and quotes of Jane Austen when reading. As one I'm currently reading, Allerednic by Chautona Havig, the male characters have quoted and referenced Jane.
    Also, Katherine Reay's Dear Mr Knightley, Lizzy & Jane, and The Bronte Plot - great books with lots of JA quotes and influence + other authors.

    I'm particularly intrigued with today's post reference to "story is about a couple of
    C.S. Lewis fans whose love story involves a wardrobe, an antique shop, and a mysterious teacup."
    Definitely my cup of tea!
    I'm adding to TBR and pinning.
    You're welcome to join my BOOK'D group board of book giveaways, Natalie, if you're interested in further promo.

  2. Hi, Faith Hope and Cherrytea!!! I hopped right over to Pinterest and gave you my email address in a comment. I'll put it here as well just in case -- nataliedmonk AT gmail DOT com. Thank you so much!

    I've heard great things about Allerednic and Katherine Reay's books! They're on my TBR!

    Doesn't Kara's Narnia-themed book sound fun? Can't wait 'til October!

    Thank you for commenting!


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