One of the absolute best things about reading is the discovery of new-for-me authors. Sometimes these discoveries happen by chance and others by introduction. I was recently introduced to Shoe Strings by Christy Hayes and I've got to say I'm glad I had this opportunity.
Angelita Barros is an up-and-coming shoe designer from Atlanta. Her business started under unusual circumstances when she was only a teenager. Since then her business has grown, she has a business partner and a booming retail storefront. Things are looking up when her business is spotlighted in a local magazine. Angelita considers her business partner her family and has not had a relationship with her father, Davi Barros, for many years. Although she is scheduled to go on vacation after a business meeting, she opts to go to the mountains of North Carolina rather than the beaches of Florida. She's hopeful that the beauty, peace and quiet will afford her an opportunity to catch up on designing and return to Atlanta refreshed and stress-free. All is going well until a near-naked man exits her rental cabin's bathroom. What a way to meet a man? The man is Jesse Bloodworth, the son of the cabin's owner and a business owner. Both Jesse and Angelita are fighting demons from their past. Angelita's father is intruding into her life and trying to force her to make him a business partner of sorts to save not only his job at the Brazilian Consulate in Atlanta but perhaps his life. Jesse is trying to mend broken bridges with his ex-wife, Kerri Ann, his son Ty, and his father Cal.
Kerri Ann is dealing with her own set of issues and is in love with the town's resident lawyer, Bryce Jenson, but she doesn't think she's good enough for him since she got pregnant as a teenager. Jesse had left his wife and young child after his mother's death because he knew that his marriage was a mistake and he needed to break free. He returned home when he realized what he had left behind and has been working on strengthening his bonds with his son and his father. Unfortunately his father couldn't understand Jesse's decision and can't understand or accept that Kerri Ann has forgiven him for his actions. Meanwhile Angelita is fighting her own inner demons. She is attracted to Jesse but doesn't feel that a relationship can progress so quickly after only a week or so and she doesn't trust her feelings.
The central theme to Shoe Strings seems to be that everyone has feelings of inadequacy to overcome at some point in their lives, or in the words of one of my friends "everybody got issues." Will Kerri Ann be able to overcome her feelings of inferiority and accept the love being offered to her? Can Angelita see her father for who he really is before forcing her to do something that is wrong for her business and possibly dangerous if not illegal? Will Jesse be able to make amends with Cal? Can he get Angelita to see that love isn't an either-or situation?
I truly enjoyed reading Shoe Strings (could have been better if there were pictures of the shoes included . . . just kidding). Angelita and Kerri Ann are strong, independent and savvy women. Their inner weaknesses aren't as masked as they would like and make for some interesting exchanges between themselves and others. Bryce and Jesse are lightly flirtatious but Southern Gentlemen to the core. Jesse is not as carefree as he initially appears and is remorseful for his past mistakes. He realizes that you may not be able to go back in time and change things but you can definitely work to make things better from each day forward. Although classified as a romance, and yes that fits, it is slightly more in my opinion. Shoe Strings is a great and quick read filled with romance, a little bit of intrigue and a touch of fun.
Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."