Friday, March 27, 2009

From a Distance by Jo Barrett

TITLE: From a Distance
AUTHOR: Jo Barrett
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 10k)
GENRE: Contemporary romance
COST: $2.00

Billie Jo Parker stops in to visit a long-distance friend en route to another destination in her travel-heavy career. She’s a little annoyed when said friend announces Billie Jo is attending a family function that night, and even more so when she discovers her “date” is her friend’s older brother. Annoyed, that is, until she meets Kyle Chase in person. But with all her traveling, and Kyle tied to his ranch in Wyoming, can their attraction endure as a long-distance relationship for more than a few weeks?

In spite of what could be the stickiness of a complicated long distance relationship, the one word that best describes this short story is simple. The prose is simple and unchallenging, and Barrett handles the headhopping that usually turns me off with her usual non-invasive style. The characters are simple, good people, with little to define them other than their lifestyles, and the plot itself is a simple, straightforward, “let’s try this out” kind of plot.

Kyle and Billie Jo have a pleasant, if uninspiring, chemistry. She is reluctant to act upon their chemistry because she knows from experience that long distance relationships rarely work. She’s also more than aware her traveling isn’t going to end any time soon, and Kyle isn’t going to leave his ranch. It feels like a doomed cause. Kyle manages to sway her reticence, and the two engage in a phone relationship that’s mildly satisfying. In a sweet, unimposing story, it’s hard to ask for more. I have to admit I keep waiting for the magic that slammed into me with the first of this author’s stories that I read, but there’s certainly nothing awful or cringeworthy about this one. It’s a mild diversion, and if you’re a fan of the author or sweet, simple romances, it might be just for you.


8/10 – Simple, unchallenging, with non-invasive headhopping


5/10 – Sketchy, but a nice enough fellow


5/10 – Nothing original or memorable, but nothing offensive, either

Entertainment value

5/10 – A mild diversion, though nothing earth-shattering

World building

5/10 – The bulk of the story focuses on the interactions between the two and their thoughts



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