⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Kelley Griffin: The next Nora Roberts
First, let's imagine the setting. In my 71 years, I have read all genres of literature and taught literature to high schoolers for 45 years. In more recent years, I have leaned towards my causes with authors like Bill Moyers, Wendell Potter and Rachel Maddow, among others. BUT, I have always found time to read a good romance especially if it had a mystery or adventure or history in it. So, when Kelley Griffin released her novel, Binding Circumstance, I immediately ordered it! I dropped everything else to read it and I was not disappointed. I loved it. I couldn't put it down!
The plot thickened for me the minute I started reading Chapter 1. I was hooked right away with lead character Leslie who fumbles to find her "fake" ID which hints at her concealing a deadly secret from someone who could still hurt her. She is likeable, talented and independent.
I enjoyed learning a little of a costume designer's life in a large production company.
As one could imagine Leslie meets all manner of supervisors and co-workers and is ultimately thrust into the path of super star, heart throb Charlie Erickson, who sees Leslie as a refreshing contrast to his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, Christine, and all other women in his path.
Leslie's secret past collides with her developing love for Charlie in inventive ways leading to a harrowing ending.
I have left out many parts of this great story so as not to compromise your enjoyment when you read it. Suffice to say, I highly recommend it. Nora Roberts will soon be joined by Kelley Griffin!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ You'll Love it Too!
You will have a hard time finding a stopping point so you can get some work done. That was my experience with this book. I’m very impressed with this new author! Binding Circumstance is well written with very engaging characters. I loved every minute of it!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ There are dust bunnies collecting in the corners of my kitchen, my laundry room smells funky, not fresh, and it’s a problem. Frankly, I blame Kelley Griffin.
Why, you ask? Because I made the mistake of diving into her novel, BINDING CIRCUMSTANCE, on Friday and, being unable to put it down, my weekend cleaning routine went to hell. Scrub the toilet, you say? Impossible! Kelley’s main character, Leslie, has questions that need answered about sexy Charlie right now and so do I, gosh darn it! Fold the laundry? Ha! Leslie’s stalker just made an appearance and I can’t leave our girl hanging out there alone, now can I? Seriously, had I stopped I’m sure she would have been a goner. I HAD to keep reading. For Leslie’s sake.
All kidding aside which, by the way, I’m not really kidding, BINDING CIRCUMSTANCE is hard to put down. It’s a real page turner, or a finger swiper if you read it on Kindle like I did. That said let me share a trigger warning. If you’ve ever been stalked or were the subject of violence, especially sexual violence, this may not be your cup of tea. Then again, it might – it’s handled in a fairly sensitive way, although it does get intense. Truth be told, the only time I DID put it down and walk away was for that very reason - intensity. When I read a book, I throw myself into it to the point that with this one, I needed a breather, even if it was just long enough to pretend to tackle the laundry.
In essence, it’s a nail bitter.
Okay, public service announcement over, let’s get to the heart of it, what I like to call the good stuff, and there’s a LOT of good stuff. To start, Kelley hooks you with a relationship-building romance dripping with suspense – which I won’t give away – but the hints at something sinister lurking in Leslie’s past will keep you guessing throughout the book. Plus, you’ll love her fragile inner strength, although if you’re a mother of a young twenty-something woman like I am, at times you’ll find yourself shouting, “Say something, for heaven’s sake!” Once you’re a mother, you’ll find yourself parenting everything whether it be stray dogs, fruit flies or fictional young people in books. It’s a thing. Don’t judge me.
As for Leslie’s love interest, upon reading the first description of Charlie, I couldn’t help picturing Chris Helmsworth. If that also happens to you when you read it, you’re welcome! Granted, it also helps that the mental image of him seductively sweaty and shirtless is forever burned upon my brain stem, but that’s not a bad thing and I certainly don’t mind. I DID mind Charlie’s initial pushiness, but it’s true to character, and it left room for his personal growth throughout the story. Characters need room to breathe, develop, and grow, and isn’t that part of the fun? Plus, as he pushed and she repelled, I got it. And, as their relationship evolved, I got that too. It works.
Additionally, the premise is intriguing – a young costume designer is stalked by a psychopath while being pursued romantically by a Hollywood heartthrob (give me a sec…I’m picturing Chris Helmsworth shirtless again), and I loved the peek behind the scenes into the world of movie making. Anytime a book takes me into new and fresh experiences, it’s an added bonus that leaves me thrilled.
From a bump-and-grind perspective, Kelley’s novel is straight up sweet heat. If you’re here for sex, sex, and only sex, keep moving. BUT, if you enjoy the give and take of a building romance with a satisfying send off, you’ll love BINDING CIRCUMSTANCE just as much as I did.
One thing that didn’t quite read true, however, but which I’m willing to accept, was Leslie’s quick climb up the career ladder, only because it happens so fast and, having bitten and clawed my way through my own career, I only wish it had been that easy at times. As the main breadwinner for my family my entire adult life it’s been an uphill battle. That said, women with skills should be instantly rewarded for their talent so, in that regard, I applaud her advancement. Let the real world take note and catch up.
In closing, this is a fun, fast read that will have you gripping your tablet page after page. Her characters will delight you and frustrate you and captivate you and enrage you and all those other choice active verbs that make fictional characters so relatable. I hope you give it a chance. You won’t be disappointed.