Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Review: Bittersweet Homecoming by Ann Jacobs

This is one of the Lawyers in Love series and is one of the best of that group of novels, in my opinion. That is not to say that the other stories are not good reads, but I just liked the dynamics of this story and I particularly liked the main characters. It is a story that is rooted in our modern world and deals with some of the fall-out that comes from trying to keep this world a safe place for our children and for all our populations.

Gray Syzmanski, a graduate of Harvard Law School, has put the possibility of a lucrative law practice on hold to work for the DEA as an undercover agent, working to upend and disrupt the drug cartels of South America. Just before leaving for a particularly difficult under cover operation, Gray had met Andi Young, another attorney to whom he had been introduced and who definitely began to "light his fire." They had a sizzling weekend together with the expectation that they would re-connect when he returned in about two months. On their last time together, the condom broke and Andi became pregnant.

Not too long after that, Andi received word that Gray had died in the operation. Gray's mother, the matron of a well-to-do family, essentially repudiated Andi, and so she chose to have their baby boy and to raise him as a single parent. Six years later, in conversations with her two best friends, one of whom now works for the law practice established by Gray's grandfather, Andi learns that, in fact, Gray was alive, had returned to Florida, and was taking up a limited law practice at the same firm. The trouble was, he had been imprisoned by the cartel, tortured, and he was permanently disabled. Andi finds he is living in the same condo where they spent their weekend together six years earlier, and visits him, informing him that he has a son.

Oh my . . . what a tangle. Gray's mother is now dead, Andi is working for the district attorney's office, and Gray has become an emotional "shadow of his former self," knowing his disabilities and being convinced that no one . . . and he truly meant NO ONE . . . would want to ever again be with him romantically. The perverbial "fly in the ointment" is their six-year-old son.

This is really a beautiful story about the damage people suffer when they put their lives on the line to try to keep drugs out of the hands of our young people. The ripple effect is clearly a part of this tale, where two people try to pick up the strands, not only of their lives, but also an emotional attachment that was put on "hold" by unforeseen circumstances. Not only is Gray the victim, but the love relationship has taken a near-mortal hit, and then, of course, there is the little boy. He is the joy of his mother's heart, and if for no other reason, she is grateful for this "fruit" of that long-ago weekend with Gray.

There is pain and fear, insecurity and hard decisions here; Gray must face his demons and Andi must make some important decisions that will effect not only her life but that of their son. I was emotionally drawn into this story more than most--these people were really good people, and their lives had been put through the meat grinder. I found myself rooting for these folks and especially for their little boy. The story is beautifully written in such a way that the reader can really enter into the anxiety and joy, the ups and downs that are at the root of the journey of discovery which this couple must take.

Of course, there is some very hot sizzle between these two and yet they must decide if that is enough for them as a couple and for the future. Some of the scenes are very erotic. It is a very good read, with a good plot, well-developed characters, enough conflict to move the story along. This novella is not too long so it is not a major investment in time. But it is, I believe, a story well worth reading. Ann Jacobs is no novice writer, and she has once again demonstrated her ability to spin a good yarn. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5.


Tracy said...

Sounds like a good series. I'll have to check and see if I've read anything by this author before. I don't think so but I can't remember exactly. :)

Dr J said...

I'm quite sure that I read some of her writing -- short stuff rather than a full novel, and I remember that I thought she had a good grasp of what it takes to tell a good story.