As everyone knows well by now, I'm not much of a reader of romance novels or even contemporary fiction. But in both cases I made an exception and read Janice Thompson's Fools Rush In and I'm glad I did.
I already knew Janice was a wonderful woman and an excellent writing instructor, but she also writes great fiction that can appeal to those of us who don't normally even shop for romance or contemporary fiction.
Fools Rush In is the story of Bella Rossi, the young woman who takes over the family wedding planning business in Galveston, Texas. Like so many of us, Bella has her share of doubts about her skills and abilities, but she plunges into her first stint as wedding planner with gusto--even though she hasn't got a clue about country and western themes. Along the way she meets up with the cowboy of her dreams and she and her family have many adventures along the way.
As with most fiction of this genre, the outcome is predictable. The difference is that you will really enjoy the ride of getting there. Generally when I read romance fiction I am bored and disinterested. But truly I enjoyed reading this book, and there are several reasons why:
* Vivid characters. Actually, I believe this novel is a study tool for creating leap off the page characters. This book contains a large cast of characters, and each one is distinct. There is no confusing them. They are not bland and don't leave you feeling dry or disinterested. You actually ARE interested in what happens to each of them. This is a skill that is very difficult to develop and Janice has done it extremely well.
* Excellent use of humor. This is a fun romp. A light-hearted tale. Humor is also one of those things that it is very difficult to carry off in fiction, but again, Janice does an excellent job of it here. My roommate must have been wondering what was going on as I laughed out loud about the machine gunning parrott and several other funny things in this book.
* Faith that is natural and not forced. Another aspect of writing fiction that is difficult is making faith a natural part of the characters and not something that is forced or tacked on. The faith of the characters seemed very real to me. This book is a light-hearted romance so there were no heavy duty life issues to be dealt with. But often keeping our faith and walking close to the Lord is just as hard in day to day life as when facing a life or death crisis.
* Use of setting. As is obvious from my previous post, I place a high premium on an author's use of setting as character in a book and I truly felt I was in Galveston, Texas, even though I've never been there in my life.
* Quotable. I think I differ from most readers on the importance I place on a book's quotability. One of the sure signs of how good a book is to me is whether or not there is any quotable content within its pages. I very, very rarely come across a book that has quotable material. In fact, Zane Grey's Forlorn River is the only other one I can think of at the moment. After reading Fools Rush In, I know I'll be walking around saying to people, "No PDA." LOL!
This was truly a marvelous read and I give it 5 of 5 stars. For writers, I think it's an excellent study tool on how to craft great fiction. I'm glad I did not pass it by.