CLOSE TO YOU
A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together -- and failing in love -- on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.
Allison Shire is a former 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.
Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then his girlfriend suddenly left him -- for his biggest business competitor -- and took his more guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing forclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he'll do whatever it takes in 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. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who 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. 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?
Seriously, how can anyone resist a heroine with hobbit feet? I certainly can't! A delightful mix of comedy and drama in the exotic (to me) locale of New Zealand.
I'm not a huge Tolkien fan -- don't speak Elvish and wouldn't know how to outsmart a troll under the direst of circumstances. I read The Hobbit in my teens but never could get into the Lord of the Rings and...gasp...I haven't seen the movies! BUT I still loved this book. I think the media has played a huge role in keeping Tolkien's imaginative realm in our minds and hearts all these years. So I was never floundering during this read. Even if I didn't get the reference, I understood it in context. All that to say no worries if your aren't familiar with Tolkien's works or the movies. You'll still love this story.
Because of my lack of true Tolkien fervor I completely related to poor Jackson. His circumstances are already dire and then to be thrust into the midst of true Tolkien fan-atics...well, it's no wonder he's out of his element. Delightfully grumpy and disgruntled as a matter of fact. :-)
And then there's Allison -- a wee bit jaded, running from her own unhappy problems while dealing with the eccentricities of an eclectic tour group. She might just be a tad short on patience and quick to judge when Jackson steps off the plane. Jackson and Allison settle into a "mutually disdainful relationship" that works well for them until some tour hijinks begin to change their point of view. Sparks vie with pure hard-headedness and culminate in an incredibly funny and poignant (and at times infuriating) rollercoaster of a read. This is one book that I would really love to see made into a movie!
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Close To You please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday May 22 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!