Review of Choosing Grace by Regina Jamison
I thought this was an okay read but it didn’t click with me as much as I was hoping. I love reading debut novels, especially from Bella Books, plus the great cover sure didn’t hurt. I wish I could say that my expectations were met, but instead, I’m a tad disappointed.
While this has a romance, I would put more of the fiction tag on this. This is a story about a life that is changing more than a ‘romance’. This actually takes place in the ’80s in New York City. I don’t know if it was the time period or the author being new, but I found the flow of the story to be a little clunky. Sometimes it flowed really well, other times almost choppy. I had trouble with the timeline and felt like way more time was passing than it actually was. That might be more my fault but it was messing me up a bit.
Another issue related to flow is that I felt like some things just moved way too fast. I know we lesbians love to U-Haul, but this was one car ride and one quick follow-up conversation (that went poorly) and already one character was professing their feelings for the other. It just seemed super-fast and in a time you still had to be careful about being gay (and one character was still coming to terms with her sexuality) it just didn’t fit that it would all come together so fast. And shortly after ‘girlfriends’ happened, the “I love yous” were speeded up too.
Not only did the romance go at warp speed, but the drama flew by too. The last third of the book is drama city. It was close to what I call soap opera drama where the drama is so over the top that it is almost fun. It was one thing after another and while I started out rolling my eyes, eventually I decided to go with the flow and I actually had some fun with all the drama, stalkers, and angst.
I saw that other reviews mentioned this and I feel like I should too. There were certain storylines that were introduced into the story that went nowhere including a principal and a gay character that had HIV. I don’t know why the principal was really even needed and I wonder if Jamison felt like she had to mention the HIV crisis since this took place in the ’80s. I feel like it should have not been in the story at all, or it needed the time and attention it deserved. Just mentioning it in passing, and making it about a character you throw in last minute, just didn’t work.
I would not recommend this book if you are looking for a romance. The characters don’t have the strong chemistry together that you need to support a romance book. If you are looking for more of a self-discovery book, especially one that takes place in the past, then this would be a better fit. I did have some pretty big issues with it, but once I loosened up and stopped rolling my eyes, I had more fun with all the drama. This is just a debut and I do see some potential in Jamison, I just think she needs to work on flow and chemistry. If she can fix those two things I think she could write a really good book. 3 stars.
A copy was given to me for an honest review.