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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Raymond by Wanda DeGolier

Raymond by Wanda DeGolier
Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (45 pgs)
Type: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Dandelion

Suburban and lily-white, Charlotte is a breast-cancer survivor who has written off her sexuality. When an accident brings her face-to-face with her Raymond, her younger, ex-con, black neighbor, Charlotte must confront her feelings of desire.

Together the unlikely pair embark on an erotic journey that will change their lives forever.

This short but powerful story draws together two lost and hurting souls who find not only a connection but an acceptance in one another. Charlotte, survivor of not only divorce but a double mastectomy, spends most of her days inside watching her new neighbor, Raymond, work on cars in his driveway. He's sexy, powerful, and a little bit of a mystery - until the day he injures himself and she rushes to his rescue. What follows is an understated but beautifully written story of how the two of them find comfort in each other's arms.

What I loved most about this story was its use of non-traditional characters (in all but one respect). The heroine isn't particularly young or beautiful, especially to herself. Nor is the hero attractive in the usual ways; in fact, he's a recently released criminal who's trying to keep his head low and avoid contact with others. The way they fall for each other, first in Raymond's kitchen when Charlotte is trying to bandage his wounds, and later when they become physically intimate for the first time in her house, is both poignant and powerful. The writing, in first person point of view and present tense, is refreshing and touching. I loved Charlotte's character and found her realistic and likable.

Here's my only reservation: while Raymond is a kind lover and a seemingly sincere man, I wished that this author hadn't relied on racial stereotypes to make a black man a criminal who speaks with incorrect grammar and "lower class" slang. This is a nice multi-racial love story, to be sure, but I wish the heroine hadn't been the proper, educated white woman and the hero who's possibly dangerous and seemingly uneducated hadn't been the only black man in town.

Aside from that characterization choice, I very much enjoyed Raymond and recommend the storyline highly. I would read another work by this author and am already looking to see what she has on the shelves!

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