About a month ago, Avalon author Sandra Lee Smith offered a free copy of her latest release, The Price of Victory, to someone who left a comment in response to her interview. I know it’s not nice to gloat but … ahem … I was the lucky winner.
This past week, I finally got around to reading my prize. As you can probably guess from the cover, the setting for the story is the bicycle racing world of the Southwest, a world that Sandra vividly evokes with in her novel. I know nothing about this sport, but she included details that made me feel as though I were a part of it. I felt the breeze on my face as I zoomed along the desert roads and, as I read about the grueling routine that protagonist Debra had to go through, I really felt that I was getting in shape. (Unfortunately, my scale and muscle tone don’t match my imagination, but I guess there’s only so much one can expect from fiction.)
As you can also probably guess, romance is in the air throughout this thoroughly enjoyable book. The writing is crisp, clear, and easy to read; the characters are believable and likeable. But what I enjoyed most was the lack of meanness. This writer managed to create suspense, tension, and obstacles for her lovers without resorting to stereotypical bad guys. I found that to be a refreshing change and the perfect escape from the spitefulness that’s been pervading the news the past few weeks.
I look forward to Sandra’s next book, which I understand is set on a Mississippi River paddleboat. As someone who’s lived much of her life in Mississippi River towns (St. Louis, Memphis and Baton Rouge), I can’t wait for that one.
Thanks again, Sandra, for The Price of Victory; it was the perfect read for these sultry summer days. If any of you are looking for a gift for a cycling enthusiast, especially one who’s a romantic at heart, this would be perfect.