Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Review: Dare to Love by Jaci Burton
Since when is it OK for a parent to determine the spouse of a child and to arrange their adult life? We might be surprised at how often such a thing happens, especially in those social circles in our country thought to be "upper class." We don't like to think there is a class system in the United States, but believe me, there is! And this kind of parental manipulation is often found in families where it is more important to keep the family name going, to keep the family fortune intact and only shared with the chosen few, and to make sure that children don't "disgrace" their socially aware parents.
Such is the basis for this novel by Jaci Burton. A smart, classy, good-looking, sexy and highly successful attorney is caught in just this kind of relationship with her father. She is a partner in their law firm, and her father has her husband all picked out. Funny though, that Lucy Fairchild just simply detested the man her father has chosen. But that doesn't seem to be the entire jist of this story. Burton dares to uncover the true self-interest in this father's machinations and the lengths to which he will go to get what he wants. Is this his way of showing true and authentic father-love to his daughter? That, it seems to me, is the core question behind this story along with the question of whether or not Lucy is willing to allow her dad to decide her future for her.
On the flip side is Jake Dalton, construction boss for a project close to Lucy's office, and who challenges her to a new life experience. Little does she realize that he is a business owner, well-educated, industrious, but wearing a hard hat and work clothes instead of a business suit and tie to work. In many ways this story is a contemporary Pride and Prejudice and pairs these two who have come from different strata of society, but who both have been searching for someone to complete their lives.
This is another well-written Burton story that is built around authentic human experience and which probes some of the relational problems modern people encounter. It also challenges the "class system" that automatically excludes some people from being accepted and welcomed, simply because they didn't attend a particular school, be involved in a particular short list of career choices, or wear clothes that seem acceptable. In other words, they are outside the boundaries set by social snobs. Lucy must expand her understanding of people and come to some kind of crossroads in her life journey where she is open to new experiences and honest about old relationships. As always, there are surprises and some unexpected developments in the story that keep the reader interested and moving forward.
I was quite drawn to Jake and Lucy--both curiously vulnerable in their own way. Both were strong but had not investigated those inner strengths by living "outside the box" of familiar surroundings and people. Now each must open their eyes to not only their own strengths, but the authentic understanding of one another. In which direction will their lives go?
This book has been around for a couple of years, but it is worthy of our interest or even of being re-read if the reader has visited it once already. I think it is as good as anything she has written and will remain on my "favorites" list for some time to come. I give this book a rating of 4.25 out of 5.