Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review- Love and Devotion by Jove Belle

Love and Devotion
By Jove Belle
Dec 17, 2013
Lesbian/Contemporary/Romance/Friends to lovers/Small town
240 pgs
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Kindle Edition

KC Hall loves her family, her small East Texas town, and her best friend, Emma Reynolds. All of that takes a backseat when her lover beckons. Lonnie is blond, beautiful, and willing. She’s also married and a lifelong friend of KC’s mama.

KC knows the affair is a bad idea, but she just can’t help herself. When presented with the lush landscape of Lonnie’s body, KC subscribes to the philosophy of “orgasm first, think later.” Unfortunately, a secret that big is impossible to keep in a close-knit community where everybody knows everybody else’s business. The scandal would hurt her entire family.

Emma is KC’s exception, the one woman she loves enough to not have sex with. When Emma confesses that she’s loved KC since high school, KC is terrified. One wrong move and she could lose Emma completely.

Is she willing to let her family pay the price for her good time? Or will she turn to Emma to discover the true meaning of love and devotion?

I have read several of Jove Belle’s books and I’ve enjoyed them. This one looked appealing to me so I went for it. It’s a good story. Definitely a good friends to lovers story. However, even though I enjoyed it for the most part, it seemed to drag and felt like it went on and on forever. I feel that it was mostly due to how drawn out this story was from the time Emma lets it be known she has more than “just friends” feelings for KC and KC realizing that she’s always loved Emma.

For some, how this book starts out might be off-putting. KC is having an affair with her mother’s married best friend Lonnie. That’s a no-no for several obvious reasons. But the way it’s written, I was intrigued and not really bothered because as the story progresses there is character growth and understanding of the negative consequences to everyone involved. And also, this is a more complex story involving several characters; it’s not just about those two and the sneaking around.

I’ll start with KC. In her career life she’s totally together and on top of things. She got her master’s degree and has a great job that offers her a good living with a flexible schedule. She lives with Emma, her best friend from high school, and as far as their relationship goes, they are very close friends only. From KC’s side, Emma is the one person who grounds her and she feels comfort with when they are together. They actually sleep in the same bed together and cuddle, which I thought kind of weird if they are trying to keep things platonic, but manage to keep things from going further.

KC is also very close to her family and takes care when issues happen with her younger sister. She’s community oriented in that she goes to church with her family every Sunday and follows all the rules and expectations of being in a small community where everyone knows each other…on the surface.  Her main flaw though, and it’s one that is cause for a lot of grief between her, Emma, her sisters, and Lonnie, is that she’s flighty and irresponsible when it comes to her love life and sexual desires. This is where she has no scruples, nor any common sense. And the fact that she’s having an affair with her mother’s friend and a married woman is not sitting well with anyone. However, Lonnie has her hooked and KC finds it hard to break away from her even though she knows it’s wrong.

As this story is mostly about KC, meaning she’s the center of it, Emma is not really as developed or shown to the reader. All we get to know about Emma is that she’s always loved KC as more than just a friend and that she is will not agree to be with KC until KC gets really clear she wants to be with Emma. This, even though she wants KC more than anything. I have to respect her on that. She knows what’s been going on between KC and Lonnie and she knows that even though KC is professing her love and desire to be with her, KC will still not commit totally.

And this is the crux of why this story dragged. KC admits to herself that she wants Emma and she gets possessive and jealous when Emma meets up with a former lover, but she’s unwilling to completely break it with Lonnie even though she knows for Lonnie she is only desired for booty call. Even at that, it’s never a sharing or exchange of giving. Lonnie never satisfies KC, it’s only about her, which kind of pisses KC off. She’s also not clear that she can commit given her history. What I felt could have been cleared up fairly quickly got drawn out due to KC’s being wishy-washy.

On the plus side of that, it’s good to show the natural progression of character growth and love in a relationship, which the author did superbly here. We get to see KC’s process and how she goes from existing for lust to discovering that love is more worthy of her energy.

Other than that, there are a lot of interesting characters and I did enjoy the small town feel even if I don’t believe a small Texas town or church in a small town would be so accepting of the gay population like they are in the one portrayed here. But I did like that KC’s and Emma’s families accepted them as lesbians and as a couple.

I definitely recommend Love and Devotion if you’re really into the small town, church going, family oriented type of story in which everyone has a happy ending. And also if you like the friends to lovers story. It excelled on that point.

Heat level: 3 – some graphic sex, but scattered throughout the story.

Grade: 3 ½ Stars

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