RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: The Sweet Spot by Laura Drake


Title: The Sweet Spot
Author: Laura Drake
Publication Info: Forever May 2013
ISBN: 978-1455521951
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book The Sweet Spot This RITA® Reader Challenge 2014 review was written by Phyllis Laatsch. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Best First Book and Contemporary Romance categories.

The summary:

Charla Rae Denny was the perfect wife with a perfect life, content to keep the home fires burning while her husband, JB, competed as a champion bull rider. Then their son died in a tragic accident-and everything fell apart. Divorced and saddled with a hill of bills and a failing ranch, Charla must now cowboy up to put her life back together.

James “JB” Denny doesn't stay where he isn't welcome. So when Charla shut him out of her grieving heart-and their home-a year ago, he took comfort where he could find it. Now after seeing beautiful Charla again, he wants it all back. She can't work the ranch alone, and deep in his heart he knows he can be the man she needs. But after so much history and heartbreak, can JB convince Charla to take a risk and give their love a second chance?

And here is Phyllis' review:

Trigger warning: dead child. I know it is in the blurb that their young son died the year before, but I’d like to make this really up front. This book is about grief at least as much as it is about love.

Second trigger warning: Infidelity (though they were already separated, not yet divorced).

Third trigger warning: Prescription drug abuse (and she weans herself off just by cutting back).

The writing in this is amazing. Simple prose, nothing purple.

The couple isn't anything like your typical romance ingénues and dukes. They're 40, were together since high school, married at 19.

Their young son died accidentally and they both crashed. When they split up, he, especially, did some things that are almost unforgivable. This is the story of how they each got their own life put back together before they could get back together.

I'm not typically into cowboys and some of this book got on my nerves, but I spent a good deal of the book leaking tears for these poor people.

I would have liked to see them re-forging their links with the small town. They’re never going to be the same as before, but I wanted the heroine to make up with at least some of her old girlfriends.

There was one bit of sloppy editing that bugged me: the seemingly-tarty New Yorker who’s trying to fit in has a husband who’s out of town most of the time. When we do meet him…. We never get a description. It feels like someone took out a chapter that didn’t advance the plot and forgot to put back in what this guy looked and acted like.

This felt more like “Women’s Fiction” instead of “Romance” most of the time. But it is primarily about the relationship and has a happy ending, so it falls under the guidelines.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | All Romance eBooks

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Kelly S. says:

    The cover on the book bugs me.  I want to see the whole face.

    Thanks for listing the trigger warnings.

  2. 2
    Sarina Bowen says:

    I thought this was awfully well written. It did feel like w’s fiction, you’re right. At first I thought it was because the couple isn’t “on stage” together frequently enough for it to feel like a romance.  But that isn’t really right. It’s because both had so many other issues they needed to work out before they could get around to the romance.

    The writing was excellent, though.

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:


    I read one of Laura Drake’s other books, and yes, she is such a talented writer. I completely agree.

  4. 4

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