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Monday, August 3, 2009

Larger Than Life by Kay Hooper

Genre: Series Romance

Copyright: 1986, reissued June 2009

Pages: 271


Saber Duncan is finishing up a grueling schedule of record recording studio time and live concerts when writer Travis Foxx shows up backstage at a concert, determined to write her biography. He is entranced, not only with her ethereal appearance and sensual voice, but also with the difference between the woman who is mesmerizing crowds and the woman by the same name who released a couple of completely forgettable pop songs less than two years before.

Travis wants to discover, first, if this singer is the same Saber Duncan who originally performed under that name and, second, if so, what happened during the year she disappeared from public life to make such a marked change in her music.

Saber has been hiding secrets as long as she can remember. Her disappearance into the wilderness outside Auckland and missing year are only the tip of the iceberg of the mysteries that surround her life.

Despite her distrust, Saber finds herself agreeing to let Travis accompany her on the first half of her secluded vacation to a friend's ranch in Arizona. If he can convince her to drop her shields, he may get even more than a best-selling book out of his discoveries.

This is a typical early Kay Hooper romance that has been republished. The characters go through a standard boy-meets-girl scenario, but it feels like we are joining a conversation already in progress. The action starts out quickly with men named Matt and Alex picking up Saber from an airport with little explanation as to what she's doing there. The reader is working along with Travis to figure out what this foreword scene has to do with the popstar Saber who performs in concert or the exhausted twenty-something she appears to be off-stage.

Kay avoids most of the details that might have dated this book as a 1980s story. There's no mention of spandex or dance aerobics. Instead, Kay focuses on the emotional angst of the characters, which is timeless. Only the fact that everyone in the story seems rich and famous hints at its original timeperiod.

Like many of Kay's later works, the reader follows along with one of the two characters, trying to piece together a puzzle just hinted at until the end of the book. In this early novel readers can also see Kay's ability to place her characters in a community so that one book leads into the next. In this case, matchmaking plans are already in place for Saber's friend who owns the Arizona ranch halfway through Larger Than Life. Just like when I read these stories under the Bantam "Loveswept" publishing cover, this book has a great resolution, but leaves me wanting the next story.

You can visit Kay Hooper's author site and buy copies from the independent bookstore she co-owns, Fireside Books and Gifts.

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