Title: Savannah Heat
Author: Carol North
Publisher: Class Act Books
Genre: Mainstream Romance/Mystery-Suspense
Print ISBN: 978-19350486952
eBook ISBN: 978-1935048695
Publication Date: June 15, 2010
Length: 249 Pages
Purchase: Class Act Books
Miss Bisque's deceased husband, Johnny Bob Wiley, was a man with secrets so he set up his will and trust accounts to prevent anyone learning of his clandestine activities. Bisque Fayette Wiley is a Southern belle raised to have a man take care of her. After Johnny Bob died she had to make a choice: live a hand-to-mouth existence or toughen up and take care of herself.
Her journey takes her to the door of the "Casanova of Savannah," a Savannah, Georgia art gallery owner, Colonel Parker Hill. The colonel lost a leg in Desert Storm. He owes his life to a female soldier who died taking fire meant for him. Consequently, he loves women. Perhaps, he loves too many women. The colonel, Southern gentleman that he is, becomes Miss Bisque's mentor and protector.
When Miss Bisque is accused of murder, she may need more help than even the colonel can provide.
I loved this charming and delightful book by Ms. North; it was a combination of women’s fiction, romance and a little bit of mystery/suspense. The characters were sharply written and there was quite of bit of tongue in cheek humor. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I intend to read more.
Bisque Fayette Wiley finds herself a widow and suddenly living hand to mouth at the age of 47. She lives in a large southern home and has fine furniture, however her husband’s estate is written in such a way that she is on an extremely tight budget and can’t even afford to get a new coat without begging the trustees for more money. This is quite a shock to a woman who was raised to be a “southern belle” and who took special care in running her husband’s home and in raising their daughter. She is embarrassed by her situation and realizes that she had allowed her husband and her parents to keep her in the dark in regards to finances and providing for herself. She finds herself involved in somewhat adversarial conversations with her mother, brother and married daughter, as she realizes that they only think of themselves and what they want and not what is best for her.
Bisque had put aside everything she had desired in her youth in order to make her deceased husband happy. While trying to come up with a solution to her financial situation a friend suggested that she sell her “paintings”. Bisque had been an artist while in college and had done some very good paintings, she realizes that her friend has given her good advice and starts to look for a gallery to display her paintings for sale. Throughout this book Bisque grows as a person and as a woman. She realizes that she has self worth and can be in charge of her own life. Bisque has a running dialogue with her deceased husband throughout the book and the conversations are both poignant and comedic.
Colonel Parker Hill owns the Wilhelmina Gallery in town after viewing Bisque’s paintings he offers to display them and to give her half of whatever he sells the painting for. He is a middle aged man who has never married and who is considered “the Casanova of Savannah” due to the fact that he typically dates younger women and is seen in the company of many different women. He is a former soldier who had been wounded in battle and saved by a female soldier which has given him a unique perspective on life. The Colonel is the first person that encourages Bisque to consider herself an equal to a man. He’s a shrewd businessman and realizes that Bisque has true artistic talent and pushes her to grow as an artist and to create new paintings in order to put on a complete show at the gallery.
The more time that Bisque and the Colonel spend together, the more they genuinely like each other and the more Bisque’s understanding of self-worth grows. When Bisque discovers some unsavory facts about her marriage and her deceased husband, she is able to handle them because she is able to conquer her fear and put what she needs first. When she is faced with adversity, which happens quite often in this story, she is able to face it head on and succeed. The romance between the Colonel and Bisque moves at a somewhat moderate pace and while there are some sensual scenes they are done in a classy manner and don’t overpower the romance. There is one scene with some violence towards Bisque but she is able to defend herself and the whole scene is done in such a manner that no one should be upset or annoyed. How all of the issues that come up for Bisque are handled at the end is superb and provided a true sense of justice. I hope that we can see these characters again, perhaps in a follow up story by Ms. North.
My Rating: 5 Out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: The eBook was provided by the author for review purposes.