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New Release Review and Spotlight: DECONSTRUCTING LILA by Shannon Leigh

Shirtless cowboys…can’t go wrong, am I right?

Deconstructing Lila Banner

Deconstructing Lila
Shannon Leigh

She’ll bring him to his knees…

Preservationist Lila Gentry returns to her small Texas hometown to restore the famous Chisholm Trail whorehouse where her great-great-grandmother was a madam in the 1880s. On her agenda is winning back Jake, the one that got away. But how do you rope a man who doesn’t want to be wrangled?

Jake lives by one creed: Keep it simple. His ex showing up in town complicates his life and makes him think about things he’d rather forget.

When Lila’s restoration project is threatened before it even begins, she turns to Jake for help. Working together stirs up old feelings, but while Lila and Jake always sizzle between the sheets—or wherever the moment takes them—it will involve some sweet-talking and finesse to bring these two together.

 

Review:

Deconstructing Lila has an interesting structure–Lila and Jake’s modern second-chance romance, told in the narrative, parallels that of Lila’s ancestress Prudence MacIntyre and her rancher significant other, Luke Gentry, revealed through journal entries and Pru’s relationship “lessons”. I enjoyed the dual stories–a bonus historical romance within a contemporary–though I would have liked to have gotten a lot more detail about Pru’s life than we actually do. I suppose, though, that Lila got more page time since technically it’s her (and Luke’s) story–but still. The life of an 19th century madam would be pretty fascinating to read about.

There’s a touch of mystery in the novel–just who sent Lila the journal? She also has some fairly major family surprises along the way. Jake, on top of dealing with the fact the girl he drove away is back once more, is also due for his yearly doctor’s visit–is the reason that he sent Lila packing also back? Oh, and did I mention that Lila’s trying to buy and restore Pru’s former “house of ill repute”, which was slated for the wrecking ball, and Jake’s crew is the only one in town qualified to do the work?

There’s a whole lot of drama going on in those 300+ pages.

But…it was pretty slow moving drama. I liked the characters–Granny in particular was a hoot–but on the whole neither Lila nor Jake ever seemed to really get invested in their problems, which made it hard for me to get overly emotional about them either. In the end, both the contemporary and the historical plots are resolved fairly abruptly, with their individual crises ending so easily it’s almost as if the obstacles were never even there at all.

This was my first book by Shannon Leigh. Though it didn’t quitework for me, there is definite promise here–I’d be more than willing to give another of her books a try in the future.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Excerpt:

Jake saw Lila the minute she pulled onto the site. His heart completed a painful three-sixty in his chest as he watched her long legs appear from underneath the car door, followed by her torso encased in a clinging white cotton tank.

She was a fragrant tropical breeze blowing through the desert. And he was a man in need of relief.

He watched her climb the steps to the pad, her light- colored trousers hugging the rounded shape of her bottom.

He felt an immediate response from below, a tightening of his balls inside his jeans, a pulsing he didn’t need at the moment.

Turning his back on his her, Jake studied the plans of the house under construction. The dimensions for the garage swam before his eyes as he listened to Otis greet Lila.

He couldn’t make out their conversation, but the soft melody of her voice comforted him, reassured him in a way he hadn’t felt in some time. She had the ability to do that, put him at ease with the simple sound of her voice. To Jake, Lila represented home. No matter where they were, what they were doing, as long as she was there, he was home.

 

 

 

 

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Author Bio:

Growing up in Hell’s Back Forty, Shannon Leigh developed a fierce loyalty to all things Texas and pledged to share the romance of small town dance halls and the flavor of brisket BBQ with readers.  Currently, she lives in Fort Worth with an extensive cowboy boot collection, a red and white, ’67 Chevy pickup and a mission to find the best taco stands in the city.

She’s been writing since Jesus was a small boy, but recently found a home with the uber wonderful folks at Entangled Publishing.

When she’s not writing fiction, she writes features for local magazines, sells real estate, and runs around with a particular 11 year old known as “The Boy.”

Website  * Twitter  * Facebook  * Goodreads

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4 Comments

  1. Great review. It is a shame it flamed out on the most interesting parts – there was apparently a lot of potential here that went to waste!

  2. Thanks 🙂 That potential definitely gives me hope for future books from her.

  3. One can only hope! I wish she had utilized the whorehouse history, that would have made me pick it up.

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