[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Finding Miranda,” an Iris Chacon novel.]
Finding Miranda by Iris Chacon is a sweet and wholesome romance that is definitely worth a read. I was given the Smashwords edition. The book is about 160 pages, including a short sample for another of the author’s books, and it reads really quickly. I finished it in one sitting. This is the type of romance novel that I could read several times a year, just to make my day a little brighter. I give Finding Miranda a 4 out of 4.
For me, the key to a good romance novel is the leads. There can be a wonderful and well-written background story arc, but if the chemistry is not really there then the whole book falls flat. In the case of Finding Maranda, the chemistry is definitely there and the reader can see the characters having a future together after the story ends. There are a few doubts and misconceptions along the way, but the writer does not linger on them too long and the two characters are rational enough to communicate and talk about their issues.
Who are the leads, you may be asking? Well, let me introduce you. Miranda Ogilvy just moved to Minokee, Florida and is the new librarian at Live Oak Municipal Library. Her age and appearance are not really specified, aside from long hair, short stature, and glasses, but she does see herself as a plain Jane Eyre. All her life, she feels like she’s been invisible. No one really looks her in the face and they forget they ever met her. Miranda actually handles this aspect of her life with great aplomb and just tries to go with it. She is kind to people and passionate about her work. These character traits might put her into the much hated “Mary Sue” category, but she does show other characteristics as the plot thickens that make her unique and interesting, as well as realistic.
Her counterpoint, Shepard Krausse, is a radio Deejay. He is blond, gorgeous, and is referred to as “Thor” a few times in a teasing manner, mostly by his best friend, Pietro. A big aspect of his life is that he is blind. This is treated with great respect and some realism. He has a large guide dog named Dave, who happens to be his other best friend. Dave enjoys using expensive hair products and has strong opinions about the NRA. Shep is nice, slightly arrogant, and passionate about justice. He grew up in a rich and powerful family but wants his life to go in a different direction for now.
Along with the budding romance, there is a main plot about corrupt business practices, politicians, and a bit of action/mystery. The plot is too simple to go over very much without spoilers, but essentially Shep gets arrogant and ends up putting himself and others in danger. Overall, everything is tied together really well and I don’t feel like anything needs to be added or removed from the story.
The interactions between Shep and Miranda are very cute and sweet. It feels like falling in love, but not quite there yet. Their relationship in the book is the warm feeling of possibly finding the one. The interactions between Shep, Miranda, Pietro, and Dave are fantastic and humorous. You want to be in the book so you can hang out with them. There is actually a lot of humor in Finding Miranda, which is what I was hoping for. When I saw the book cover, I felt like this would be a quirky kind of romance and it’s exactly what I thought it would be. Straight from the beginning of the book with the introduction of the neighborhood morning coffee tradition (where the older ladies sit on their porch and ogle Shep as he goes running), almost every aspect of the story is handled with natural humor, even some of the more serious things presented. The title might lead the reader to believe that Miranda needs to be found at some point, but after reading this book, I realized that one of the largest story arcs is Miranda finding her own voice and finding that there are battles that are worth fighting.
There is some very minor profanity in the usage of the word “hell”, but it’s humorous and well-placed. There is non-graphic violence and death that is treated respectfully. As far as how sexually graphic it is, I give it .5 out of 5 Chile Peppers. There is some adorable kissing and hugging. I think that readers ages 12 and up could read this without any problems, but people under the age of 15 might not relate enough to the storyline to stay engaged. I would recommend Finding Miranda to readers that enjoy sweet romances. Fans of Debbie Macomber and Joann Fluke would enjoy reading this.
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