Jessica Barksdale Inclan is a romance novelist with a dozen traditionally published books, including the Being and Believe trilogies. Along with her success with traditional publishing houses, Inclan has chosen to explore self publishing and has plans to release a selection of new and backlist works in electronic format.
The Only Thing I See is a contemporary story of complicated relationships. Annabelle Cousins can't seem to find the passion she once had for her career as a wedding photographer. As she looks through her lens she is suddenly seeing more than she expects. Instead of bringing clarity to her life, Annabelle finds her heightened sense are clouding her judgement. She is taken by suprise when her fiance leaves, and confused by her attraction to a groom to be. Her carefully planned life is crumbling around her.
Despite the veneer of romance, this novel is focused on exploring Annabelle's journey towards emotional maturity. I found Annabelle to have a passive nature that highlights her poor self esteem. Self pity is rarely an attractive trait in a romantic heroine yet Annabelle does attract sympathy as she struggles with finding her way towards fulfillment. Most women can empathise with the devastation after the break up of a long term relationship, no matter how appropriate the decision. Inclan captures her hurt, confusion and eventual acceptance deftly.
The romantic relationship is complicated by an obvious obstacle that would usually preclude a developing relationship. I felt sorry for Nadine even while accepting the idea that her relationship with Robert was not meant to be. Inclan has very carefully navigated the path it takes but it's a difficult task and I wasn't wholly convinced. The circumstances don't inspire confidence in the traditional HEA ending yet I was left with the hope that Annabelle would find happiness.
The source of Annabelle's intuition is never fully resolved. Inclan leaves it to the reader to interpret with a deliberate sense of mystery. This thread, and the tarot readings, underscore the idea of fate and destiny and its inevitability that is a major theme in the novel.
A quick and satisying read, The Only Thing I See is a thoughtful story that examines complicated relationships in modern times with original elements and likeable characters.
Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
(reviewed 67 days after purchase)