Lysistrata Smith—how could anyone be called Lysistrata? But Lyssa’s soon a very real character in Sally Bennet's Homegrown Muse, and her muse-born name is delightfully apt. She treads the complex world of ecology and development with confident skill—not to mention dealing with high finance, jealous lovers, cheating businessmen and family misunderstandings. Meanwhile she scrimps and saves her wages in hopes of saving her family, and eats ice-cream with a generous neighbor who pulls all available strings to help find Mr. Right. Unfortunately the world’s Mr. Right’s are often cunningly disguised as Mr. Wrong, and this is one of those novels where the urge to sit the characters down at a table and tell them what’s what can become almost overwhelming. Almost, but pleasingly not quite.
A new development near Phoenix blends high-tech, conservation and beauty into something Dane Callicott can surely be proud of. But why is he so unsure of himself, and why so eager to accept the complaints of his backers that he’s going to lose money? Sometimes risks have to be taken, in business and in love, and sometimes the traditional route to success leads to the wrong result.
Dane and Lyssa’s relationship mirrors the relationships between buildings and the land. When the rubble clears something beautiful will arise, something well worth waiting for. Meanwhile the reader meets two very different families and learns the strengths and weaknesses of both. Independence is good. So is a sense of belonging. And the earth is our home.
I enjoyed the characters of this book, drawn deeply enough to have flaws like the flaws in the landscape. The story’s fun. The gentle hints of marketing and finance intrigue. The family dynamics are pleasantly surprising. And the whole is an enjoyable romance with that extra something that makes it worthwhile.
Disclosure: I obtained a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed 84 days after purchase)