A Month From Miami
by Barbara Meyers, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-887-9


In A Month From Miami, our heroine Kay Lee Walsh decides to start a new life as a hairdresser in Miami, far away from Bertie Springs and the terrifying dead-end life she can see herself trapped in forever if she remains here. However, because this is a romance novel where all cars driven by heroines on the road will inevitably die on them, her car breaks down in Parrish, Florida and she has to get it to Rick Braddock's workshop to get it fixed.

Kay Lee - or Kaylee, as she wants to be called once she leaves Bertie Springs - is the kind of woman who just can't stop talking. I think she must have watched 9 To 5 one time too many and believed that the movie set the standard for women everywhere. Because Kaylee must have read too many romance novels to believe that it is okay to travel with little money in one's purse, she can't pay for the repairs so she now needs a job to come up with the money needed. Rick, conveniently enough, needs a babysitter for his daughter. Therefore, in one month, Kaylee with babysit the brat and in return, Rick will repair her car without charging her for his services. You can guess what happens in the end, I'm sure. It's true what they say about small towns - they will never let you leave. Never. Things get a little more unpredictable when Kaylee discovers some gems stashed in the gas tank and puts two and two together: her ex-boyfriend Bobby Lou Tucker borrowed her car to get to Knoxville on the same day that a heist was committed in a bank in Knoxville. Yikes.

While A Month From Miami has a very familiar basic premise, Ms Meyers does many things right that make the story more interesting. I like how Kaylee bonds to Molly in a realistic manner. She isn't some airhead who miraculously discovers her inner Wise Earth Mother aspect when confronted with a child. Instead, her rapport with Kaylee has enough hesitation and awkward moments that make it feel credible. Molly, unfortunately, says way too many things which are supposed to be cute only to come off like a creepy adult midget in a little girl's outfit who has watched way too many Hallmark movies. I am worried at first that Rick is going to be one of those "my ex is a bitch so all women are bitches" guys but he has a refreshingly mature perspective on his failed marriage. I also like how he doesn't resent Molly for wanting to make it big in a city like many xenophobic small town heroes tend to do, but instead he doesn't want to hold her back if leaving him and Molly for Miami is what she wants. Ms Meyers does a pretty good job in making Kaylee and Rick feel as real as possible. The relationship of those two, as a result, has a credible ring to it.

A Month From Miami, therefore, is an enjoyable story with ample little twists on its familiar story and characters to make things still fresh enough to give me a good time.

Rating: 83


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