Doesn’t this blurb read like a romance novel? It’s got a jilted lady, bossy mom, and a hot as hell ex. It may be technically Women’s Fiction, but in my humble opinion, Jane Porter’s She’s Gone Country is really a romance novel:
Shey Darcy, a 39-year-old former top model for Vogue and Sports Illustrated led a charmed life in New York City with a handsome photographer husband until the day he announced he’d fallen in love with someone else. Left to pick up the pieces of her once happy world, Shey decides to move back home to Texas with her three teenage sons. Life on the family ranch, however, brings with it a whole new host of dramas starting with differences of opinion with her staunch Southern Baptist mother, her rugged but overprotective brothers, and daily battles with her three sons who are also struggling to find themselves. Add to the mix Shey’s ex-crush, Dane Kelly, a national bull riding champ and she’s got her hands full. It doesn’t take long before Shey realizes that in order to reinvent herself, she must let go of an uncertain future and a broken past, to find happiness—and maybe love—in the present.
The story is told from the first-person point of view of the heroine, Shey. This is why it’s not considered a traditional romance. It’s all in the head of the heroine—deep reflection by her about where she is in her life and the life-changing journey she’s about to embark on. In Porter’s novel, we get a first-hand account of a woman restarting her life back home on a Texas ranch, far from the jet-setting life she led New York. Not only does her mother add her two cents when it’s not asked for, but her two older brothers try to rule her life as well.
The emotional wounds inflicted by her ex-husband are still seeping. He left her for someone else, someone he was in love with, and that someone was another man. Yup, you heard me. Double whammy. Infidelity is hard enough, regardless of what sex you’ve been dumped for. But when someone you’ve been married to for close to twenty years announces your lady bits haven’t exactly been their cup of tea, well, how would you feel?
Shey’s not really having an easy time. Tension is at an all time high in a place she came to for peace. Add to that three teenage boys dealing with their father’s new found-sexuality and being moved across the country, and a high school sweetheart to the mix—that’s the perfect set up for some tension of a difference nature, the best kind, IMHO, sexual. Ha cha cha!
Shey was shipped off to boarding school when her family flipped over her fling with one of her brother’s older friends, Dane Kelly. Seeing him again brings up all those old feelings. Feelings, she realizes, she’d never felt for her husband. When she bumps into him at the local BBQ joint she tries to sneak away unnoticed, but staring at him with her mouth open like some stalker slows her down a bit. The he sees her and Shey is done for.
But Dane is more than a pretty face. Life has given him a raw deal too. His son Matthew died some years back and his wife left soon after. Wounds Shey doesn’t know how to help him with, not that he’s asking for any. What bothers Shey more is that Dane can push her buttons—but understands she’s not ready to revisit their past.
Dane also knows about teenage boys and he helps Shey as best he can. This keeps them in close proximity and that’s doing a little something to Shey’s nether region. She’s always been a shameless flirt and flirts with Dane a bit just to get under his skin. When Dane reciprocates, Shey’s panties nearly drop.
“You never did hide your feelings very well.” One of Dane’s big calloused hands slips up my cheek, and he runs his thumb across my cheekbone. With curiosity. With warmth. With wonder. For a big man who’s spent his life on broncos and bulls, he’s so gentle that shivers race through me. I need his touch. I crave his touch. I want him as much as I did twenty-three years ago.
He turns his hand over and runs the backs of his fingers down my cheek to my jaw and to my mouth. “You really are too pretty for your own good.”
“You can’t see all the lines and wrinkles?”
“I just see woman.”
Ha cha friggin’ cha! I like the sound of that. No, I really like the sound from Shey’s point of view, first hand, about what she’s feeling and such. It really pulls you into the moment.
This is what I love about Women’s Fiction: Jane Porter’s novels aren’t about young, perfectly built, and gorgeous twenty-somethings. They are about people like me: thirty-somethings taking chances when the first HEA doesn’t exactly work out. More like happily ever after…the second time around.