Monday, August 20, 2007

One Little Secret

I first met Allison Bottke at the Write-to-Publish conference in Illinois a few years back. Today I’m reviewing her book, One Little Secret. Tomorrow, I’ll hop back on the loop of the CSFF blogtour.

For a boomer babe new to chick-lit and new to So Cal where the story takes place, I enjoyed One Little Secret. The plot centers around Ursula Rhoades, a middle-class, educated boomer chick with an almost perfect family. Ursula’s life is comfy—until a secret silently sows pandemonium.

Ursula typifies the submitted, steadfast Christian mom and wife who places family above her own dreams. But when an opportunity opens for her to fulfill a latent dream, she begins recording an album with a famous, “sexy dude” rock star—incognito. Meanwhile, her own husband is caught up in his own ambitions as a lawyer—and is away for several months on a case. So are the kids. Ursula is quite alone. Quite the set-up for trouble.

Although Ursula appears spiritually solid, some of her behavior leaves us questioning her maturity—and turning pages. For example, Ursula is often alone with Nik, and there is a clear, although controlled, play of chemistry between them in spite of their age-difference. While Ursula never betrays her marital status, she does put herself in precarious situations. At one point, Nik turns up at her house at 5am where she is all alone—and has been for weeks, making her vulnerable. Ursula invites him in. Not a wise move—especially since Nik is attracted to Ursula.

This kind of predicament keeps the tension rising as the reader wonders if Ursula will, in fact, cross the line. Some would argue that she already crosses the line by ignoring God’s mandate to “abstain from all appearance of evil.” Whatever viewpoint you take, from the angle of plot only, the dilemma keeps us turning pages—albeit with a bit of a “tut, tut!”

Bottke is generous with detail. I enjoyed the décor in Ursula and Don’s bedroom (my favorite color), and some of Ursula’s footwear sound gorgeous. Nothing is spared to show the opulence of Hollywood and riches. (On a personal note, since living in So Cal near some the world’s richest people while working with some of the poorest, the paradox often leaves me perplexed!). So, if you’re into boomer chick lit intrigued by glitz and Hollywood, you might want to give this book a try. I think you’ll enjoy it! You can order it on And while you're there, check out Allison's U-Turn series.

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