Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Little Bit Country by Debbie Macomber

Rating: ★★★ | 5 hrs. 19 min | Harlequin Audio | Contemporary | 07/07/2015 

I’ve been meaning to read a Debbie Macomber so I randomly checked out this audiobook from my library's Overdrive  I quickly realized that while the audio was released in 2015 this book actually came out in 1990. It’s old school romance time, ya’ll ! I mean...I guess. Is 1990 old school ?

Anyway, this is more like it:

Rating: ★★★ | 189 pages | Harlequin Books | Contemporary | 03/01/1990

24-year-old children’s librarian Rorie Campbell is making her way to a writing conference when her car breaks down on Clay Franklin’s  horse farm. With no hotel in the tiny country town she stays on the farm with Clay and his teenage brother, Skip, until her car is can be repaired. In the span of one night Clay and Rorie develops feelings for each other---which is too bad since Clay’s engaged to another woman.

Honestly, this book was kind of vanilla  but also for some reason also kind of endearing towards the end ? IDK, it’s rough out there in the world right now and it’s nice to see someone get an HEA. Clay’s fiancee aside, their biggest hurdle is that Rorie is a city girl and Clay is from the country. You know this because they tell you every 30 seconds. Believe me there are lots of things to nitpick, especially with  the weird teenage brother who was a borderline moppet with some questionable ticks. I could seriously get into some crazy theories about what was going on with him.

Aside from obvious things like no cell phones or Internet what stood out about this older romance is  the super implicit heteronormativity  and strictly enforced gender roles. There is no subversion here. And it’s not even in the story, it’s also in the writing. All the young female characters are described as girls and as being young and pretty  while all the male characters are described as men with wrinkles and crow’s feet--which are seen as attractive. We actually never get an age on Clay, I’m guessing he is probably 30 at the youngest while Rorie is specifically stated as being 24.

Audiobook narrator Karen White did a good job with accents for all the country folk, rhough she has a mature voice that doesn't quite fit the characters. She does the Julie James audiobooks too so I was familiar with her.

All that said I am still in awe of the scope of Debbie Macomber’s career. I had to do some digging to figure out when this book came out because she has written literally a bajillion books and quite a few are constantly re-packaged and re-sold as something else.  This story, A Little Bit Country has been repackaged three different ways, in fact my library has this story in two different versions. With all that variety I think I may dip into another Macomber when I need a palate cleanser.

So….this book ends with this scene of Rorie looking at a picture of Clay's dead parents:

Setting her cup aside, she reached up and threw both arms around Clay’s neck. Gazing into his eyes, she brought his mouth down to hers. Perhaps it was her imagination or an optical illusion—in fact, Rorie was sure of it. But she could have sworn the elegant woman in the photograph smiled.

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