Leave me in a bookstore and I will get lost in the romance novel section. Romance novels–to be more precise, historical romances a la old school Amanda Quick–are my default book reads, especially when I want to escape into an adult fairy tale. I say all this to make clear my bias in tackling Nancy Naigle’s Mint Juleps and Justice (2014), a contemporary romance and my January Kindle First selection.
Mint Juleps and Justice is part of Naigle’s Adams Grove series set in Virginia. I have not read any of the previous books in the series, nor do I intend to. That has nothing to do with Naigle’s skills as a writer but rather my lack of interest in the particular brand of romance that she offers: small town characters who engage in realistic ways and who have realistic problems with a little bit of realistic suspense thrown in.
The story is of Brooke Justice and Mike Hartman who find themselves relocating to Adams Grove for a fresh start. They meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after–but not before they each make peace with their fears, their past–and the lurking, sinister characters who threaten their lives.
Despite my initial disinterest in reading this book, Naigle’s writing is engaging enough to have made the experience of finishing the book possible. Parts of it dragged and I found the characters’ development to be flat. Though likeable and relatable, Brooke and Mike lacked…personality and growth. I also found their story lacking in the kind of passion and tension that I expect between the leads in a romance novel.
More suspense (though on a very low scale) than a passionate romance, Mint Juleps and Justice is a quick enough read with realistic, likeable characters with real problems. Those who like this particular brand of romance will enjoy the story. I, however, like my romances with a little bit more passion, a lot of British aristocracy, and a little bit less reality.