Saturday, June 24, 2017

Review of "Just Look Up' by Courtney Walsh

Interior Designer Lane Kelley is forced to return from her big city job and life, to her small tourist town when her brother Nate is in a terrible motorcycle accident. She has avoided home like the plague since a devastating rift occurred. (The author doesn't tell you right away exactly what neither will I!) For years, Lane has intentionally buried herself in work - and she has been successful at both advancing her career and studiously avoiding the real issues.

Veteran Ryan Brooks has his own emotional scars; he and his sister barely survived their childhood with no mother, and an alcoholic dad. Now a renovator/businessman extraordinaire, Ryan is determined to do his part to revitalize the tourism for their lake front town. He was also in the accident with Nate; he has vague memories of what happened, but suspects there is more to it than he can fully remember. And what he does remember shames him deeply, even though none of it is his responsibility. Ryan is also buried in his huge development project, but still manages to find some balance; all the while, trying to draw Lane out of her shell and find the girl he once knew.

The layers the author has created with these characters and story were nuanced and well done. The quirkiness of some of the characters is fun, rather than odd; and although I know we must have conflict(!) the author does not take a cheap version of misunderstandings to create this tension. Instead, she draws from the character's backstory to find ways that are completely plausible rather than annoying. Do we think they will be together in the end? Will there ever be healing for Lane and her family relationships? Will Ryan ever be free of the stigma of his childhood, and will his business venture succeed? Probably, but how the author gets there is unusually well done.

I was provided a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.