Mars…With Venus Rising

Mars…With Venus RisingMars...With Venus Rising by Hope Toler Dougherty
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Pelican Book Group on August 28, 2015
Pages: 346

 

About Mars…With Venus Rising (from the back cover):
A meddling horse, paper bag floors and a flying saucer on the town square. The little town of Mars has it all–including a brand new resident who might spell heartache for one of its own. 

Twenty-something Penn Davenport yearns for an exciting life in the big city and wants to shed the label of orphan that she’s worn for years. To achieve that dream, she must pass the CPA exam then move away from the two aunts who reared her after her parents died in a plane crash.

When John Townsend-full of life and the joy of living-moves to town, he rattles Penn’s view of herself, her life, and her dreams…which isn’t such a bad thing until she falls for him… and discovers he’s a pilot.

Mars…With Venus Rising is a cute and quirky contemporary romance that feels in many ways like a cozy mystery – without the mystery. The small town, the adorably eccentric aunts, even the loaded-with-personality pet.  All it’s really missing to achieve “cozy mystery” status is for the Apple Festival coordinator to be found murdered on a parade float or some such tragedy.

Mars…With Venus Rising is a cute and quirky contemporary romance that feels in many ways like a cozy mystery – without the mystery.

John is probably my favorite character in Dougherty’s novel, his easy laughter & affection & thoughts about Penn from early in the novel through the end. The aunts come in a very close collective second place with their eccentricities, their well-meaning but painfully obvious matchmaking attempts, their penchant for baking, their affection for each other & Penn & John & even some romantic interests of their own.  They reminded me often of my own beloved grandmothers and I found myself smiling whenever they were on the page.

The romance in Mars…with Venus Rising is sometimes toe-curling and sometimes frustrating, but the toe-curling kisses make up for the frustrating moments quite nicely.  I have such a one-track-mind, don’t I? To be honest, at the beginning of this novel I was sure I was going to stay perpetually irritated with John.  I felt like he would be the cute but clueless one.  As the story progressed, however, John proved himself to be solid and steady… and yeah, cute. Penn actually turned out to be the one with whom I stayed perpetually irritated.

The romance in Mars…with Venus Rising is sometimes toe-curling and sometimes frustrating, but the toe-curling kisses make up for the frustrating moments quite nicely.

While Penn’s actions did keep me irritated for her and at her especially in regards to her relationship with John, I enjoyed how her hangups and long-held fears played into the spiritual aspect of this novel. Some wise words are spoken by her friend Abby, by the aunts, by John, and although I don’t usually like a lot of prayers being written out in fiction I’m reading (it interrupts the flow of the story for me), I appreciated how natural these prayers felt and how organic to the characters and the situation they each were.

Mars…With Venus Rising is a delicious contemporary romance with quirky characters, bits of humor, and solid spiritual truth.

Despite a few minor editing-related distractions (some plot points that seem to be abandoned, spelling & grammar errors, sudden perspective shifts, etc), Mars…With Venus Rising is a delicious contemporary romance with quirky characters, bits of humor, and solid spiritual truth. “Delicious” in more ways than just the breathlessly lovely kisses too – Penn’s aunts love to bake and Hope Toler Dougherty has included several recipes in the back in case you get an urgent craving for snacks while you’re reading.  (You will.)  Delightfully cozy and grin-inducing, this is also a book that will touch your heart.

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