Favorite Romance Novelist
Julie Garwood’s latest novel, Grace Under Fire revisits romance between the Buchanan and Mackenna families. In this latest pairing, Isabel the baby of the Mackenna family tangles with former Navy Seal Michael Buchanan. The seemingly mismatched pair will spark an interest even in readers new to Garwood.
Theme of Grace Under Fire
Finding ones’ life course is the underlying theme of the novel. Isabel is a new college graduate. Her love for music hidden during the college experience re-emerges. The pursuit of a more practical degree unknowingly places Isabel Mackenna in grave danger. As does her sudden fame.
Meanwhile, Michael Buchanan has his career change all planned out. Until he once again crosses paths with the youngest of the Makenna females. Now all bets are off.
For this reader, the chemistry between the lead characters took a little time to develop. More time than given on the pages of the book. Garwood romances are not sweet, so I was not surprised by the content, just not expecting the sensuous scenes so soon. By the time I was ready for the couple to conjugate, the courtship had passed the initial stages. Timing was off, just not sure if it was this reader, or not.
Isabel Mackenna answers to her middle name. Thus, a potential for confusion for those seeking Grace. Under fire refers to both the unscrupulous fortune seekers as well as the rabid music fans. Garwood primarily tells the story from the voice of her heroine. As a protagonist, Isabel is quite likeable. Not too syrupy Her key fault of lousy driving eventually saves the day.
The chapters devoted to Michael Buchanan’s viewpoint help solidify the relationship. They also provide a balance to the fame and fortune Isabel faces on a daily basis. However, the hero remains one dimensional. Only hints of his time at war are given.
Just as Isabel and Michael have been secondary characters in previous novels, Grace Under Fire has a plethora of entertaining secondary characters. It is doubtful that any will become protagonists, but one never knows. Of course, quite a few former protagonists made appearances. Readers familiar with the series may recall the various personalities. New readers will need to discover most of the characters by visiting the library.
Recommendation for Grace Under Fire
The release of Grace Under Fire comes after a larger gap than most of Garwood’s books. Perhaps the pandemic is to blame. Devotees of the author will certainly enjoy this novel. It is stand alone to a certain extent. I checked the book out of my local library. It was enjoyable, and yet I doubt I will reread it as often as I have Garwood’s 2011 release The Ideal Man nor my all-time favorite, The Secret. Her novels are always enjoyable, and I hope for a shorter time before her next release.