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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

True Blue by Luanne Rice

Rumer Larkin had loved Zeb Mayhew for as long as she could remember. But when Zeb married Rummer's sister Elizabeth, the couple followed their dreams to Hollywood, leaving a devastated Rumer behind. Now, Zeb has returned, bringing his troubled son Colin with him. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Grayson, whom listeners met in Safe Harbor, befriends Colin and the two teens help Zeb and Rumer open up to each other and overcome past hurts. This mesmerizing, heartfelt story showcases Luanne Rice's considerable talent as she explores sadness, loss, and the power of love to heal.

Ok, did you see in that synopsis where it says Zeb's son's name is Colin? Well, in the version I read, it was Michael. Except in four paragraphs and then she uses Colin. It was very confusing. Just wanted to point that out.

On with the review:

Rumer and Zeb grew up as best friends. They had a paper route together when they were kids, walked along the beach together, swam together, fished together, played together. And as time went on, fell in love with each other. Rumer wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up, and Zen an astronaut. Rumer said they were connected by a gold thread, from Earth to Sky.

When they were 15, they shared their first kiss. After they went to their respective colleges, they tried several times to lose their virginities to each other, but something always happened to prevent it or they were interrupted. So Zeb called Rumer and asked her to come home for a weekend and he set up a seduction scene, only Rumer never showed.

Stung and feeling rejected, he went to New York a few months later to see Elizabeth's older sister on Broadway and was seduced by her, and then, eventually, married her. Betraying everything Rumer believed in.

But now, 20 years later, Zeb is back in Point Harbor (the small Connecticut coastal town they grew up in) to reconnect with his 17-year-old son and to try and make amends with the one woman he never forgot..and never stopped loving. Only Rumer is no where near ready to forgive and forget, especially because her sister stopped her from seeing her nephew for more than ten years.

In the meantime...

There's a young girl named Quinn who has major issues. Her parents drowned when she was young, orphaning her and her younger sister and leaving her emotionally scarred. She's struggling every day to deal with all of her rioting emotions, and then Michael (Colin? Michael? Colin? Whatever) shows up in town and starts drawing her out and they both fall in love.

I generally enjoy stories like this. I'm not as big a fan of the "One That Got Away" storylines as Grace is, but I do enjoy them. Usually. But I think the sister thing really killed it for me in this case.

Elizabeth, the older sister, is a terrible, meanspirited attention grabber and she went after Zeb only to spite her baby sister. She also kept her son away from his aunt because she hated the fact that while she was drinking her life away her son loved her sister and was happy to spend time with her.

There's a bunch of little sub-plots in this book that I'm not going to get into, but it was kind of all over the place. I think we saw the story from no less than 6 POV's. While I'm all for going back and forth, I felt that was too much.

Anyway, Zeb comes home and Rumer does her best to ignore him, but after a good month of that, Zeb gets irritated and on the advice of Rumer's father, starts perusing her again. I liked Zeb sometimes, but other times his whole "I feel so guilty, I ruined everyone's lives" thing really got on my nerves. I'm sorry, but after awhile wearing a hair shirt and playing the martyr stops making me sympathize with you and makes me think you're an idiot instead.

For her part, Rumer irked, too. She wasn't an idiotic heroine, per se, but she wasn't one of the better ones I've read about either. Though I don't think she took the betrayal thing too far, when the time came, I think - for all of her constant back and forthing - that she gave in too easily. We watch throughout the entire book as she deals with her hurt feelings and her hatred for her sister and Zeb and then BAM, one day she just decides all is well with Zeb and starts sleeping with him. Seemed a little convenient to me.

Then Elizabeth comes back and I hated her even more than I had before. She was jealous and spiteful, despite being more beautiful than Rumer and a major movie star. She treated her own son callously, trying to break up his fledgling relationship with Quinn and buy his affections. I wanted to pull her hair out.

While she's there, she admits that she was the reason Zeb and Rumer didn't make it to their rendevous back in the day and shows the note Zeb had left for Rumer that she'd (Elizabeth) hidden. But instead of being angry or playing the blame game, Rumer forgives her. I think she just did way too much forgiving. I don't like reading about heroines who can't forgive and forget when reparations have been made, but it bothers me just as much when they forgive and forget without any apologies being made, or a grand enough gesture.

Whatever. Rumer was a doormat. Zeb needed a backbone and to toss his hairshirt in the garbage, Elizabeth was a major bitch, but Michael (Colin?) and Quinn were cute. It was worth reading the book just for them.

3.5 out of 5 (the .5 for Quinn and Michael/Colin)

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