Sandra Bricker. Be My Valentino. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2015.
In a completely unexpected surprise, I received an advanced copy of Sandra Bricker’s newest novel, Be My Valentino, over two months early! It arrived exactly when I needed it most, a day when everything seemed to be going comically wrong and I really needed some fun-filled entertainment to escape the day. :)
Be My Valentino continues the story of Jessie Stanton, first introduced in Ms. Bricker’s On a Ring and a Prayer. After surviving the initial upheaval of discovering her husband’s double life, Jessie finds herself with a new life and a successful clothing rental store, Adornments. Gradually, Jessie makes her mark on Hollywood fashion with the help of some of her new-found friends and an unexpected opportunity to feature her new men’s clothing selections when Danny works undercover at a Hollywood awards event. However, her former husband’s affairs continue to affect Jessie’s business and her ability to trust her own judgment. Even with the best of friends and the love of a God-fearing man, Jessie must rediscover her own faith and roots to grow into the trendsetter she was always meant to be.
The dynamic, mystery-solving duo, Jessie and Private Investigator Danny Callahan, return with another great story by Ms. Bricker. Filled with great characters and a light-hearted writing style, Be My Valentino will delight Ms. Bricker’s greatest fans. Building on Jessie’s previous challenges with her former husband, the novel also delves into Jessie’s Louisiana roots and her growing relationship with Danny.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading Be My Valentino. While most of Ms. Bricker’s previous novels utilize a rotating cast of main characters, Be My Valentino offers insight into her multi-novel storylines with a single narrator. Ms. Bricker does an excellent job of building on the characters of On a Ring and a Prayer, while developing additional complexity amid the continued narrative of Jessie Stanton. This novel offers plenty of context to re-introduce characters for those who have not read On a Ring and a Prayer, although those who haven’t read the first book definitely should. In general, Be My Valentino offers less laugh-out-loud moments than the first novel, but provides a light-hearted and surprisingly thought-provoking story that builds on Ms. Bricker’s much-loved characters. After reading On a Ring and a Prayer as a piece of great Christian chick lit, Be My Valentino definitely offers a satisfying continuation that I simply couldn’t put down until the very end.
Fans of Ms. Bricker’s other novels, especially On a Ring and a Prayer, will definitely want to read Be My Valentino! Additionally, readers who enjoy humorous Christian fiction by Janice Thompson and others will also want to add this novel to their must-read lists. At 320 pages, Be My Valentino has relatively quick pacing and would make a great vacation read for the summer months. The novel also includes a spectacular preview chapter of the final novel of the Jessie Stanton series, From Bags to Riches (2016?).
Special thanks to NetGalley and Abingdon Press for the complimentary copy of Be My Valentino!