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REVIEW: Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson

She’s 33, unmarried, and stuffed into a Bubble Yum pink bridesmaid dress. And the whole town wants to fix her up with anyone with a dental plan…

Who’s going to rescue Sadie Hollowell now?

Everyone in Lovett, Texas knows Sadie has always been a ‘notional’ kind of gal. She got a notion to leave town asap , and never visit her daddy (bless his heart). Now, she’s back and got the notion to invite a good-looking, hard-muscled, total stranger to her cousin’s wedding. Better a stranger than some of the losers she’s dated.

Vince Haven got his muscles the hard way—as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. He’s staying in Lovett to visit his crazy aunt—the proprietor of the local Gas N Go. Before he can get the heck back out of the small town, his aunt makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Maybe he’ll stick around Lovett for a while. Maybe he’ll make a ‘go’ of the Gas N Go. Maybe he’ll rescue Sadie out of that pink dress!

Dear Ms. Gibson,

“Rescue Me” is a slow Southern style romance. Great intro of the two with Sadie bluffing a stun gun and telling a friend all of Vince’s personal info. She impresses him and me with her smarts. Vince and Sadie don’t spent their time lusting, lusting, lusting – instead they head straight for the action and manage to keep their relationship as FWB which slowly slips into more. Nice, easy. The way the book is set up might annoy some readers in that there are portions of every chapter where Vince and Sadie don’t endlessly lust after each other or even constantly think of each other but instead – amazingly! – they get on with their (at this point) separate lives. Sadie deals with her father’s injury and recovery and Vince begins work on the renovation of the Gas and Go. Imagine, two protagonists who aren’t mindless puddles of drool as they only fantasize about body parts and boinking. I found it refreshing.

Rescue Me Rachel GibsonBut the book also manages to be hot – sinfully hot. Sadie and Vince are both adults who’ve had physical relationships and don’t go all coy. They know what they want and when they get a chance, they get right down to it. It’s direct, it’s done well and it got my motors revved. I also appreciated that there were no regretful mornings after. At one point Sadie mentions they’re about to make bad decisions do things they might regret in the morning but thank God they never do. Regret them, I mean.

That being said, the “ILY” realization and declarations were a long damn time in coming. I don’t like books which drag on too much after everything is settled but this one literally took until the final pages before both of them were romantically on the same page. Still, I felt that both Sadie and Vince reacted realistically based on how you’d written their characters. Neither one shows emotion very easily and it takes a lot, in Sadie’s case a life changing event and for Vince a visit to his sister and assholic BIL who spouts some – bizarrely emo – words of wisdom which make me wonder if he’s going all soft and girly, to break their emotions loose and let them out.

Angst is certainly there but both are the type to keep things inside rather than cry in front of others or let it all hang out. They have to be rescued from that, from the closed in lives they were living, from the expectations of others who don’t really know them. They also need rescuing from their own feelings of self doubt and regret. Sadie always wanted to please her mother in pageant competitions and then her father in ranch stuff but never quite managed either. It’s not that her mother was mad at her but rather that since she died when Sadie was so young, Sadie never had the chance to excel at something for her mother. And only too late, Sadie gets an inkling of how little chance her father had to be a loving father to her based on his own messed up raising. She feels she was never what either parent wanted – a pageant winner or a boy to inherit the ranch. Never quite what either parent was looking for in her. And then there’s the expectations of the people of Lovett about her and the ranch. And the gossip.

I love how Sadie faces down everyone who wants to question and quiz her about her life – in the town, at the wedding with her deaf aunts shouting all her business to the reception, Sadie sucks it up, deflects when she can and acts like she was raised right.

The SEAL stuff isn’t so much in your face – My hero is a SEAL! since Vince is off the teams now. The weapons stuff sounds cool and probably correct but it doesn’t take over the story. Vince thinks about these things because they were a part of him for so long and are deeply ingrained but I never got annoyed that SEAL worship was taking over the book or that it made Vince just a cardboard cutout caricature of a man. All this stuff also serves to set up Vince’s “Rescue Me” issues which is the PTSD he refuses to acknowledge and which scares him more than any insurgents ever did. Big tough men don’t quake from dreams .Vince hates his BIL to be – and it’s totally believable how he never mentions Sam’s name to Sadie, never boasts of his famous BIL, just calls Sam a SOB. Vince’s personal issues relate to the death of his best friend and Vince’s feelings of guilt and anger and loss of his place on the team due to his damaged hearing.

All the Texas stuff might be over the top but I enjoyed it and laughed in appreciation. The hair – poofed please and never flat – the clothes, the language, the food, the descriptions of the lovely Texas evening skies – I like it all. Could be overkill, though, for those who prefer skyscrapers and smog.

Call me crazy but I like that Sadie doesn’t suddenly discover a love of the ranch. She still hates cows and wants to get rid of the Texas Cow Traditional style of decorating at the ranch house. What she finds is a love of the place and a love of the business … but still not cows. She also will always have unresolved issues with her father – there’s no Hollywood happy ending there but something that mirrors how life sometimes is. I was also slightly surprised that the issues of Vince’s father weren’t explored but instead you just use this to paint some more brushstrokes of his personality and past life without trying to force anything into a neat little box with a bow at the end.

You’ve ended the book on sort of a cliff hanger. What happened 28 years ago and how is Sadie going to find out and what will happen when she does? I think I can guess who will be the next hero but I will look forward to it, him and another trip to Lovett, Texas. B

~Jayne

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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

9 Comments

  1. becca
    May 29, 2012 @ 14:22:53

    Although Southern and Texas aren’t my cultures of choice, this sounded good up until the cliff-hanger ending, then forget it. I hate cliff hanger endings.

  2. Tina
    May 29, 2012 @ 14:37:44

    I’ve seen this book and really I didn’t give it much thought because of the cover. That cover gives me pause. There’s something a little too precious about it.

    “The way the book is set up might annoy some readers in that there are portions of every chapter where Vince and Sadie don’t endlessly lust after each other or even constantly think of each other but instead – amazingly! – they get on with their (at this point) separate lives. ”

    Now, that part right there, would make me want to read this cuz I roll my eyes at books where grown ass folks can’t think straight cuz they are too busy obsessing over their love life. And every conversation they have with everyone has to be about that love life.

    “You’ve ended the book on sort of a cliff hanger.

    But then, that part right there…that gives me pause again. I don’t like cliffhangers.

    Really nice review though. Think I might look it up even with the cliffhangery ending.

  3. Jennie
    May 29, 2012 @ 16:06:13

    I tried to read this but I just found it too annoying. The cliches about Texas and small towns were laid on SO thick. “Bless her heart” is an awesome phrase but when it’s used every page it loses its snarky power.

    But my main problem was the “hero” – IIRC, the hero was my main problem with Gibson’s last book, too. He’s an asshole. Not just a standard “no commitments” alpha jerk asshole, though he is that too. He’s just kind of mean in general. He’s contemptuous at the idea of his aunt having a sex life – not that anyone ever really wants to think about their elder relatives going at it, but Vince’s main objection seems to be that his aunt has wrinkles (quelle horror!). When the townspeople blather on to him about the local gossip, he thinks to himself something along the lines of “why they would think he gave a flying fuck”, which just struck me as too harsh.

    I don’t know; maybe he gets better. I can handle the alpha commitment-phobe jerkness to a degree because I’ve come to expect it from Gibson heroes and at least there’s motivation for it in his history (even if it’s rather trite). But the petty mean snobbishness just totally turned me off of him.

  4. Lauren
    May 29, 2012 @ 17:01:45

    The first book that I read of Rachel Gibson’s was Truly, Madly Yours. I loved it. Thought that the characters were excellent, the story was funny, and it was an all around enjoyable book. It led me to reading the rest of hers in quick succession. She fell of my must read list when she wrote her second story about the Chinooks hockey players. I’ve read them, but have gotten mad at myself for spending the money on them.

    I find that she tends to make caricatures, instead of characters, in her writings. I’ll probably get this on ebook, because it should be cheaper than a paper version. I’m hoping that its good!

  5. Jayne
    May 29, 2012 @ 18:38:36

    @becca: @Tina: Well, this book and the relationship in it are complete by the end. The cliffhangery part is who (I think) the heroine of the next book will be and her relationship with Sadie.

  6. Jayne
    May 29, 2012 @ 18:39:31

    @Jennie: Given your feelings about her last book, I wondered if you’d like this one or not. I guess not! ;)

  7. nearhere
    May 30, 2012 @ 15:53:08

    I was so disappointed with this book. I am a huge fan of Rachel Gibson and quite liked the previous book with Autumn and Sam. This book felt incomplete. The relationship never felt like it had grown into a relationship, and the “ending” place made no sense and would have been sudden for me even if there wasn’t the development at the end.

  8. Frannie
    May 31, 2012 @ 07:03:23

    I’m also a huge fan of Rachel Gibson’s, and was delighted by Rescue Me. I have a weakness for Texas based romances — they seems exotic to those of us from the great white north! I quite like how, in Gibson’s books, characters from previous books sometimes make brief appearances — just long enough to give the reader a glimpse into what happened after their book ended but not so long as to take attention from the current story. As always, I’ll look forward to her next. Great review, Jayne.

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