Guest Review: Beautiful Stranger by Katalina Leon

Posted June 9, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

Judith’s review of Beautiful Stranger by Katalina Leon

Lily Fontaine is a newscaster and former beauty queen, but those roles don’t suit her anymore. She’s healing from divorce and ready to make big changes in her life, but first she needs her sexual confidence back.

She wants an affair without the risk of heartbreak and considers hiring a male escort as a special treat for herself. Her best friend offers a provocative solution to her request. On her birthday, Lily returns to New Orleans, the place of her birth, to meet a special man. She is set to meet David, a man who is 11 years her junior but who is “hot”, intelligent, and knows how to take charge. The attraction is instantaneous. Scarcely looking back, Lily sheds her old life and follows a beautiful stranger into bayou country for the adventure of a lifetime.

It is not usual that one encounters romance novels that are built around an older woman. That is not to say that they aren’t “out there,” but it is not something that is often encountered. Lily Fontaine, however, is a woman in her mid-40’s and who has been a successful news anchor in the Los Angeles television media. However, in a world of nubile young 20-something entertainers and television personalities, Lily is recognizing that her employers are moving her to time slots that are further and further away from Prime Time. She is also aware that her personal life is in the tank, so to speak—that her divorce, while timely and necessary, has taken the total romantic wind out of her sails. She is feeling used up and discarded, and she knows she needs to do something to regain her personal stride in the world.

Lily’s producer is a woman who is also getting tired of being pushed aside, even with all her success and expertise. She is more aware than most that Lily, her best friend, has lost her verve and she believes that a young man she knows in New Orleans can re-ignite Lily’s love of life—and of love itself. While Lily was the one to propose hiring a “date” for herself, she is somewhat apprehensive about the arrangements her friend has talked her into. Yet when she and David begin to get acquainted over dinner and in spite of a very upending run-in with Lily’s ex, their attraction and mutual desire for one another moves them beyond their personal issues into an erotic affair that steams up the reading glasses of anyone who wades into this tale.

This is a beautifully written love story. It is very introspective – the reader is really taken on a tour of Lily’s inner struggles with her aging, her career, and most of all, her need to feel alive and desirable once more. She struggles with society’s negative take on younger men with older women. Yet David is kind and caring, respectful and open to her in a way a man has not been for a very long time. He is more concerned with her needs and desires than with his own. She is almost “blown away” when she recognizes that without any financial incentive, David wants to please her most of all.

This story is also about what it means to “come home” – to get back to one’s geographical roots as a metaphor for getting back to basics in one’s values and one’s confidence in oneself as a vibrant, loving, caring, worthy woman. It is about risk taking, about opening oneself up to possibilities that are scary and which may even be terrifying, especially if one has lived a “closed off” kind of life.

I liked this story a lot – lots of romance, to be sure, possibly more than usual, but under all the physical attraction is the stuff of which authentic loving is made. Lily is like so many women who feel “over the hill” and this writer has written a loving story to convince them that there are “miles to go before we sleep.”

I give this story a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place

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3 responses to “Guest Review: Beautiful Stranger by Katalina Leon

  1. If I hadn’t already purchased the book, this insightful review would have sent me shopping immediately! Katalina expertly creates stories and characters that stay with me long after I’ve read the last word.

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