Flashback is Nancy Warren's first book, but with its polish and colorful characters, it's a far cry from what you'd expect from a new writer. With her easy touch in describing delectable heroes and with her ability to write provocatively sizzling love scenes, she has a potential to acquire quite a loyal following.
The back blurb caused me to approach Flashback with hesitancy. We're told that the heroine, Laura Kincaide, is reluctant to work with Jack Thomas because she still hasn't forgiven him for breaking her teenage heart. Then it goes on further to say that she won't even be in the same room with him. I pictured immature people who bickered and sniped at each other incessantly.
Well, the blurb is wrong! Yea!
At sixteen, Laura Kincaide did have a major crush on nineteen-year-old Jack
Thomas. What changed everybody's life was Jack's mistake of getting
involved with a cheerleader. He gave up his football scholarship, married
the cheerleader and became a daddy. Twelve years later he's a single dad
who still lives on Whidbey Island near Seattle. He's never forgotten Laura
but the love of his life and his major concern is his daughter Sara.
Laura and Jack are going to be working together on the restoration of an
old house. And for a while Laura doesn't want to be around Jack. But the
recriminations and the bitterness are held to a minimum. These two are
healthy adults and the sexual fantasies they indulge in would make Hugh
Everything is going smoothly. Jack and Laura are regaining their trust and
are including Sara in their plans. What throws the proverbial monkey wrench
into their plans is Jack's ex-wife, the cheerleader, now a successful
newscaster. Rather than tell you her reason for appearing, I'll let you
find out for yourself. Part of my reluctance to reveal her motives is that
I can't decide if it's whimsical or silly.
Ms. Warren's talent shines when she describes Jack. He's portrayed as
caring, sensitive, lusty and frequently confused by the female population.
He's complex, yet is one of the truly good guys. Laura isn't written with
the same boldness. Her character is blurry and out of focus. I won't go so
far as to call her wishy-washy but she's not written with the same strength
of purpose as Jack. He's the shining star and his intensity often puts
Laura into the shadows.
Another area where Ms. Warren shines is the believable sexual tension she
describes. There's tenderness but the intimacy is provocative, adult and
intimate. Those of you who want sizzle won't be disappointed.
To say that I didn't like Laura wouldn't be accurate. She just doesn't hold
up her part of the relationship. And my ambivalence toward Laura is the
reason I can't recommend this story wholeheartedly.
If you're a reader who puts yourself in the heroine's place, then you're
going to have a dandy time. You'll enjoy your time with Jack. But if you're
a reader who observes, then you'll see that the characters aren't equally
fleshed out. That imbalance throws the story off, causing it to not quite
reach its potential.