Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra: A Counselor in Need



Carolina Blues Cover

Dare Island #4
by Virginia Kantra
Mass Market Paperback/E-Book
304 Pages
Penguin/Berkley 7 Oct 2014

E-Galley provided by publisher for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.


Jack Rossi is Dare Island’s new police chief. The laid-back North Carolina community is just what he needs to recover from a rocky marriage and a big-city police department. He’s learned his lesson: no more high-profile women or high-pressure jobs. The last thing he wants is an unconventional alt girl rocking his world.

Grad student Lauren Patterson made headlines when she kept a bank robbery from going bad. She’s fled to Dare Island to clear her head and focus on writing her story. However, sexy Jack Rossi is a distraction that’s too hot to ignore, and it’s igniting an affair too combustible to resist…or quit.

But when their pasts come looking for them, Jack and Lauren find themselves fighting for the future they deserve, whatever the price.


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This was a thoughtful examination of how love and experiences, especially traumatic ones, can affect and change our life, and the goals we’ve set. Indeed, the couple has a pretty in-depth look at their wants and life goals. It also looks at Lauren’s personal crisis in writing, her guilty feelings and her inability to move on.  And Jack looks at his career goals and whether he likes the close knit police department on Dare Island or if he is more interested in the high-pressure Philly environment.

I love the unlikely mix of characters drawn to each other: Lauren, a pierced psychology grad student who negotiated hostage release and the surrender of the robbers in a bank robbery and the new, “not from the island,” police chief, Jack Rossi.  Lauren is not limited by conventional ideas of dating and commitment in choosing sexual partners; Jack is a little more traditional, but, he’s a guy, attracted and, well, he’s a guy.

An old boyfriend’s dad was a shrink and my guy used to say that it was like the cobbler’s kids going without shoes. In other words, he thought his own family was in need of counseling.  I feel that way with Lauren who is nearly finished with her degree. She needs to really communicate; not hide behind  words spoken in anger and frustration to get in the way of relationship.  In a sense it is the set up of the relationship and of both assuming it hasn’t changed when they get closer that causes issues. Using the bad communication and exterior obstacles tropes, Kantra positions the two to be separated by their words and their jobs.

One thing Kantra excels at is writing some hot love scenes.  Especially on a boat. That’s always been one of my fantasies;  then again I think of the shower/head combo and maybe not so much. But that is part of the romance novel – those fantasies that reality would get in the way of seem much hotter and more romantic in a book.

Another skill Kantra possesses is the ability to weave the next book’s characters and story line into the one you are reading.  So, I want to know what happens to Jane, the Island bakery owner, before I am halfway done.

This all happens on one of those islands where there are plenty of residents and a lot of tourists. It’s a pretty romantic set up and makes me want to jump on a plane to the Carolinas!

Lots of fun and very hot, this sets me to a boil – a low-country boil!


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