TBR Day. Craving Temptation / Deborah Fletcher Mello. 2014

I purchased this book last fall in part because I'm trying to make an effort to read more diversely. (The Twitter conversation surrounding #WeNeedDiverseBooks has been eye-opening.) This multi-cultural romance features a heroine whose father is a conservative Muslim and an African-American hero. It is the 2nd book in Mello's 2-part Just Desserts series. I have not read the first book and while the characters from it are a significant part of this story, I didn't feel I was missing anything important. The blurb:

After a rocky year, life is once again sweet for brothers Troy and Quentin Elliot, and Quentin's new wife, Harper. Their bakery, Just Desserts, is thriving, with Quentin as pastry chef, and attorney Troy handling the books. In fact, Troy is ready to pursue his next big goal: to run for Mayor of Memphis, Tennessee. The competition is tough, but there's one challenge Troy doesn't anticipate--his opponent's distractingly beautiful campaign manager and daughter, Amina Salman. . .

A fellow attorney, Amina hopes to reconnect with her estranged father. But a chance meeting with Troy quickly complicates her task. Not only is her passionate spirit at odds with her father's conservative values, her attraction to his rival leaves her even more conflicted. Soon, Amina and Troy are falling in love--but when they surrender to sweet temptation, they find themselves with more at stake than a campaign victory. . .

Amina's parents divorced when she was 12 and Amina ended up with her mother in Atlanta while her older brother, Basil, and younger sister, Rasheeda, stayed with their father in Memphis. Basil and Rasheeda grew up in a conservative Muslim environment, while Amina spent only her summers with their father. Her mother had "returned to her Baptist roots" and accordingly, Amina has lived between two worlds. As the book opens she is now a successful attorney with strong management and PR skills who has moved to Memphis to try and re-connect with her father and siblings as she manages her father's mayoral campaign.

Here are a few random bullet points:

  • For the most part I enjoyed the book. That's because I liked Amina. She was respectful toward her father, yet she remained true to herself. She was willing to disagree with him and she stood up for herself.
  • Amina's brother is the source of the conflict in the book. He is a mean bully who has been over-indulged by their father. Basil constantly undermines what Amina is trying to do for the campaign. This makes it easy for Amina to resign as campaign manager when her relationship with Troy deepens to the point it's a clear conflict of interest.
  • There are 2 parts to the book. The first half was Amina & Troy sneaking around to get to know one another and the second half was Basil going off the deep end trying to control Amina and using Rasheeda to do so.
  • I have to admit, I found it odd that Amina's father, who believes women are to be behind the scenes as wives and mothers, would allow his daughter to manage his campaign. And why do so if he wasn't going to take her advice?
  • When Basil goes off the deep end, it's because he's engaged in some shady real estate deals and he wants Amina to cover it up. He becomes violent and threatening towards Amina. At this point some of it seemed over the top. But, I liked that Amina doesn't give in to her brother.
  • There's no real conflict between Amina and Troy. Which is OK, but it makes you realize that this is rare in romance. And when Amina doesn't tell Troy something that he should know immediately, her reasons for waiting make sense and she's not running off by herself in a TSTL moment.
  • Troy came across to me as such a perfect man he was almost a cardboard character.
  • I really liked seeing Amina's relationship with her sister grow and how Rasheeda gains the courage to stand up for herself both by watching her sister do so, and -- I loved this -- through the romance novels Amina gives her to read.
So to sum up, I did like the book. Despite the fact that I am calling the suspense stuff at the end over the top, I have to admit that I couldn't put it down when I got to to it. I also want to say that I thought the description of conservative Muslim beliefs was respectful. If there were errors, I am not conversant enough to have recognized them. I would like to read more by this author.

Comments

  1. Someone described Troy in the previous book as an adult Plot Moppet. Sounds like he didn't really grow past that.

    That book didn't really work for me, but I liked enough about it and am curious enough about the Muslim heroine that I have this one TBR.

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    1. "Adult Plot Moppet" <--- that made me laugh! I'll be interested in your thoughts when you read it. And I hope we see some more Muslim heroines (and heroes) in the future in regular US-set contemporaries.

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  2. The premise sounds intriguing, but I'm not sure I would be able to stand a manipulative, controlling, brother as main source of conflict. Will have to think about this one some more. Or, more likely, seek out a different book by this author. Thank you for the review!

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    1. You're welcome. I certainly liked her writing, so I hope one of her other books appeals to you, if not this one.

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  3. Phyl, as always, a book you've read intrigued me enough to add it to my own TBR. Thanks!

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  4. Totally off topibpc, but I love the new look. I've been away from blogging for a while and even worse for blog hopping. So the first thing I noticed is youve changed how it looks. Kinf of like painting and redecorating a favourite room isn't it?

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    Replies
    1. First, I'm SO glad you stopped by again! It is good to see you blogging, too. Thanks for your kind words about my "new" look. In truth, it's been a while, but I really like this one. It seems to make a nice frame for everything. Yeah, I like to think of it as a favorite space :)

      I hope you'll be around more often.

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