Review: Laying a Foundation by Deanndra Hall

laying a foundationReviewed by Shelly

I read Laying a Foundation after reading the prequel, “The Groundbreaking.” I don’t think it’s necessary to read these two stories in that order because “The Groundbreaking,” a novella, only introduces the characters who are going to be in the series. It delivered a nice bit of background for each main character but I wouldn’t say that it’s required reading for full enjoyment.

This self-published piece is a plus novel; my ePub version was about 320 pages of single spaced story, there’s a lot of story to tell. This is my first story where the hero and heroine are 50+ as I’ve purposefully stayed away from them but the blurb was captivating enough that I went outside of my norm.

Tony Walters is the majority owner of Walters Construction, one of the larger companies in the Louisville, KY, area which affords him a certain celebrity-like status in his hometown. He’s been divorced from his first wife for many years and his 2 children are grown with spouse/partners of their own. Even before his divorce, Tony’s been a pretty lonely guy. Not alone, just lonely. Widowed for five years, Nikki Wilkes lost her husband and 2 children in a car accident. After leaving Murray, KY, where she lived with her family, Nikki moved to the nearby town of Louisville where she works at a small flower shop. What are the chances that two these very different individuals with such diverse backgrounds would meet and fall in love?

I place a lot of importance in the written word, and that’s why I’d rather read a book than watch a movie. The written word can be powerful and is a proven means of communication between author and reader. It’s common to get too much or not enough – it’s rare to get just enough. That being said, I have some trigger words that will quickly get my mind out of any story. This story had three of them that made me question if I even wanted finish the story – wiccan, pagan, and fate. Had I an inkling/warning that might even suggest that the hero/heroine is a wiccan, that’s an automatic no in my world. Even I have my limits. Tony and Nikki believed that they were fated to be together. I associate fate with loss of free will and that’s never a good thing for me. Remember I said that I place a lot of importance on the words that are chosen to represent the thoughts/feelings of the writer. You, dear reader, might-not/will-not have the same reactions to those words but that’s why no two people will read a book and have the same experience. But I digress.

Tony is a loving father to his children. Even though his ex-wife is mentally unstable with a propensity towards extreme behavior he’s always been there for his son, Clayton, and his daughter, Annabeth.  His attraction to Nikki was strong and vice versa. But I felt some desperation in his actions. He’s waited a very long for a woman in his life and unlike Nikki I questioned the speediness of his actions. For as long as this book was, everything happened relatively quickly… from the I love you between Nikki and Tony to the I love you between Nikki and Tony’s grown children.

Nikki is very much alone. Her parents have disowned her and she’s without siblings or any other family. She has a couple of co-workers at the flower shop but these are work acquaintances, not anyone that she would go to the neighborhood bar for happy hour drinks with or hang out with outside of work. That’s all been her choice. There’s focus on her lack of funds to enjoy the occasional splurge, but I didn’t understand that part about the money because she was married for 30 years – didn’t they have savings or some kind of life insurance? That wasn’t credible to me because if I’m reading a story about people who are their age, I expect them to be a lot smarter than I would expect the characters in the average (aged) romance. I know I was supposed to like her a lot more than I did and there was a lot that had the potential to like, but there were certain things about her that I just found to be annoying and the more I found out about her is the less I liked her.

The sex between Tony and Nikki was plentiful and graphic. One of Tony’s past experiences included sessions with a particular prostitute who told him that anything he intends to either do to a woman or have a woman do to him – he should experience himself. Really?! Nikki’s experience with her husband was D/s in the bedroom and it was vast. I would have liked it a bit more if they learned things together. Their sexual interactions read like a checklist, <spoiler> including but not limited to anal, fisting, role-play with non-consensual sex</spoiler> some of which made me a tad bit uncomfortable.

The background story of sabotage, destruction and suspense was my favorite part of this story. It had a well done build up and I truly didn’t see it coming. Had it not been for those parts of this story, my enjoyment would have been much less. There were some other things that were introduced without resolution that I would have liked to see pan out but maybe in the future installments they’ll be addressed. Last, I expect HEAs in my romance and this didn’t disappoint but for whatever reason I didn’t feel good about the H/h. Maybe I’ll have better luck with Vic and Laura’s story.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C+

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Laying a Foundation
by Deanndra Hall
Release Date: July 31, 2013

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