This is the second installment of the series, Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis. This is a new author to me, again a recommendation by Amazon. Reading this book was not difficult without having read the first. I certainly will now go back and read book 1, Animal Magnetism.
Jade Bennett arrived 18 months previously in Sunshine, Idaho with a secret past. She is attracted to her employer, Dell Connelly who is a handsome speed dater and finds the attraction hard to resist. Dell fights his attraction as he is afraid of making the connection of a serious relationship. She is soon to return home to Chicago, back to her old life, only to realize that perhaps she had already created a new life in Idaho.
This is more of a relationship romance as compared to suspense romance. Thus we expect to have more individual character development as well as the relationship. I found that compared to other romance books, I actually was motivated and emotionally affected by the tone and message.
What should a female lead be in a romance book? Should she be the heroine in distress? Should she be the ballsy tough chick with a chip on her shoulder? Perhaps she’s the girl next door? Jade Bennett is all of these women, and yet none at all.
I will honestly say that this woman has many faults and makes many mistakes. But while I fussed at her actions, I had to acknowledge that had I been in her situation, I would have made the same mistakes.
And as it turns out, being told you’re strong and actually being strong were two very different things.
How many times have you been in a situation where when looking back you wished you chose differently? How many times have you thought you would do the right thing, but when it happens, you froze? Jade is in all of us, when we are alone in our rooms alone, hiding from our mistakes and afraid to correct them.
Dell Connelly, the animal whisperer. We have here a man who has had a life of hard knocks (opposite of Jade) and while humans have always disappointed him, animals never did. Dell always gives his time; he always helps, but never emotionally invests, always expecting to be disappointed. What I liked about this book is that so often I took the side of the man. I so rarely get that opportunity.
But that was no longer the case. Now when he went to sleep at night, he lay there wondering what Jade was doing and why she wasn’t in his bed. He didn’t want to be alone anymore.
To me this book was more than a romance book with hot sex scenes, but a novel about the human soul and its capacity of learning to love. It’s also about the miracle of what marriage is about, compromise and acceptance:
“So how are you going to live with that for the next sixty years?”
“Buy another TV”.
The key of marriage is to compromise on the things that don’t matter. You fight over what’s on TV? Get two TVs. But beyond that message is the overall theme:
“Or the fact that I am not defined by the worst day of my life”.
This is such a profound thought, yet such a simple statement. How often to we reflect on our past and let those past actions rule our present? Not to say that traumatic events don’t shape us, but we should not let them control us.
This is not just a romance book, but it has a wonderful message about acceptance, emotional healing, and love. The character development of both main characters is a large portion of this book.
What could be better?
There were times when I wanted to tell them, just say you love each other and get over it. If you seek a book that has a lot of action and adventure, this is not the book for you.
Conclusions: They are not perfect. They make mistakes. They are afraid of commitment and they almost let that fear ruin their lives. This book is about finding yourself and not letting others make life decisions for you. I believe that we can all get something out of this book and apply it to our relationships. I would recommend this book.