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Book review: 'Montana Summer' is engaging YA romance

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Sept. 3 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

"MONTANA SUMMER," by Jeanette Miller, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 275 paged (f)

Shelby Hamlin is engaged to marry the man of her dreams — or is she? “Montana Summer” by Jeanette Miller offers a lively LDS romance set in Montana.

Shelby’s mother has not communicated with her since she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and her father is dead. The closest thing she has to a family are her Brigham Young University roommates and ward. And she’s engaged to Bradley Thompson, one of the most eligible bachelors on campus.

Bradley is tall, dark and handsome — a stalwart in the church who comes from a great Mormon family. He’s finishing an MBA at BYU and is on his way to a lucrative career. He’s Shelby’s dream man — the one she thinks will give her the perfect LDS family life.

Before their wedding, Brad wants Shelby to meet his family who lives in Montana. But he has an important summer internship and sends Shelby off to Montana by herself.

Shelby falls in love with Millie and Karl, Brad’s parents, and they with her. She falls in love with the beauty of Montana. And she finds herself falling in love with his older brother, Cameron, who has the shadows of some bad choices dogging him.

As Shelby discovers what she honestly wants and needs in a husband, she also discovers that her dream of “the perfect LDS family” is just that — a dream. She discovers the reality is far better than she imagined.

Miller writes in a descriptive, engaging style. The dialogue flows well and feels authentic. Her descriptions of an LDS family and church activities are wholesome and feel natural.

The romantic tension growing between Shelby and Cameron doesn’t overstep any boundaries, but a few romantic exchanges stop just short of offending. Many “lurching heart, eye-locking” moments and some passionate kissing are described.

Religious references assume knowledge of the LDS culture. It fits snugly into the young adult LDS romance niche.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia content. Her website is at www.dramaticdimensions.com.

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