The Sweetheart Rules: A Sweetheart Sisters Novel
“Such a long and detailed story, The Sweetheart Rules, chock full of lovers and their animals, is also full of romance in 304 pages, including the epilogue of Sweetheart Rules and a preview of the next book in the series, The Sweetheart Secret, coming in September 2014. Readers will wait with bated breath.”
Author Shirley Jump has already established her place as a favorite for readers of romance. Happily her new book The Sweetheart Rules, the second in the Sister Series, is long and rich. It has great romance and wonderful characters. There are reasons that this new book is so heart tugging; Ms. Jump creates romantic suspense, character, plot, settings, and especially dialogue, very carefully. She knows how to keep readers turning pages.
The characters are so balanced that the reader doesn’t know who to love the most. Characters are carefully paired. The main lovers, Diane Tuttle and Mike Stark, a Coast Guard Lieutenant off duty, are hesitant lovers because both have had failed marriages. Ultimately, while the sex seems marvelous, there are always promises of “never again—no more.”
Olivia is Diane’s sister, and Luke is Mike’s friend. Olivia and Luke are perfect foils for Diane and Mike. Greta, a nosy senior citizen with good intentions and a wicked mouth has a dreaded suitor, Harold Twohig. This pair supplies outrageous humor. Greta is the rascal of the elderly ladies, especially when she is trying to both put down Harold and show off her humor—which is often quite literate. “That man is a pox on society.” Or, “That man is like a tick on a bloodhound. Only bigger. Balder. And uglier.”
But there are many more notable characters since Diane is veterinarian; cats and dogs have names often tip the direction of the plot. The faithfulness of a dog named Mary is a beautiful example of “show, not tell.”
The plot is not unusual; it is Jump’s keen handling of it makes it work. Elements of romantic fiction that she captures are hope, despair, sexuality and time. (Mike’s leave is nearly up.) Chapters often end in urgent situations; nevertheless, the reader is satisfied since the next chapter will keep the reader’s interest.
Readers will not be disappointed since in the style of good romance writing new chapters untangle problems from earlier situations. Jump uses a range of devices; a letter is slipped under a door, a teen runaway returns, and Mike eventually has an easy way to solve his problem.
Settings vary, but they always suit the situation. The veterinary settings come into play as people visit to adopt animals, help the shelter, work on the buildings’ restoration or make love in the back room. The Golden Retirement Home that Greta rules is the ideal place for quilting and gossip, for pancakes and plotting.
Also author Jump has refined the language used in The Sweetheart Rules, especially in erotic scenes. During the many sexual encounters, the vocabulary is usually enticing than in her earlier books that often read like street talk.
But as in earlier books, readers bask in romance, even with frequent description of fashion. For instance, low V-neck sweaters are popular with female lovers who bend over a lot. Amazingly, immediately after sex, readers find that in Diana’s bed, she is “warm and comfortable and content under a blue and white gingham comforter. After reading the scene, readers might try J. C. Penney for equally comfy comforters. Jump has a keen sense of fashion blended with humor—a great combination.
Such a long and detailed story, The Sweetheart Rules, chock full of lovers and their animals, is also full of romance in 304 pages, including the epilogue of Sweetheart Rules and a preview of the next book in the series, The Sweetheart Secret, coming in September 2014. Readers will wait with bated breath.