My pick for book of the month for August is Running Wild by Susan Andersen, a lovely jungle romp of a contemporary romance that I grabbed the minute I saw it at the market. I will grab any book this author writes, as she's one of the most fun and reliable romance writers in the biz (I also own every novel she's has ever written, and reread all of them regularly.) As a writer Susan has a marvelous ability to take your mind off your troubles, make you laugh and sigh over her quirky characters and delightful plots; she's also a terrific storyteller who delivers a lovely reading experience every time.
For this novel the author takes us off to South America, where make-up artist Magdalene Deluca has traveled to look for her missing missionary parents. After a run-in with a local drug lord's leg-breaker, she's rescued by handsome Finn Kavanagh, who can't resist a gorgeous lady who seems to be even more free-spirited than he is. Begin the chase, play hide-and-seek in little charming towns with the leg-breaker and his buddies, add in lots of jungle, river rafting and adventurous romance and you've got everyone running wild.
There was so much to like about this novel, but I really enjoyed the characters, neither of whom were the usual default jungle-rom pair (brainy/scientific chick, mercenary/adventurer/wastrel dude.) I also appreciated that Magdalene's skills weren't presented as backstory or to make her seem more dimensional, and she actually used her expertise as a make-up artist on them both to get them out of some sticky situations. Although I didn't really find plausible her giving up her job and using her savings to rush down and save the uptight missionary parents who basically abandoned her when she was a kid, it was a necessary plot point, and the author didn't beat me over the head with it every other page, so I let it pass.
As any romance lover will tell you, it's always a pleasure to read a genuinely fun romantic romp, and Running Wild is the real deal. This book is also part of a series, but since it's only connected by characters you don't need to buy anything else to get up to speed.
Here's why you can buy a copy:
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