26 April 2016

Close to You by Kara Isaac

★★★★★
Goodreads | Amazon
A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?

This book is so much fun! It made me laugh and smile and just so very, very happy. I highly recommend Kara Isaac’s Close to You

The majority of this novel takes place in scenic New Zealand. A tour featuring the beautiful locations made famous by The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit brings Allison Shire and Jackson Gregory together, despite their individual reasons for disliking all things Tolkien - and each other. Both Allie and Jackson have pasts that have left them a bit bitter, broken, and spiritually adrift, but a series of comedic mishaps - involving (at different times) mud and horses and a dinner cruise - bring them important lessons and new perspectives.

With plenty of romance, Tolkien references, and witty dialogue amidst heart-wrenching circumstances and spiritual growth, Close to You offers a well-rounded contemporary read. Fans of the genre will not be disappointed with this adventurous and amusing romantic book. I loved it and can’t wait to read more from Kara Isaac.

Thanks to Howard Books, I received a copy of Close to You and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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