Five-Star Review from The Romance Studio

The Romance Studio

A Place to Land
Mary Vine
Contemporary romance
Available from Black Lyon Publishing
ISBN: 978-934912-22-5
December 2009

Ulianna Markova, an immigrant from Russia, is determined to be wholly American, self-supporting, and to help her parents and siblings to a better life. In lieu of the usual job interview, she travels to northeastern Oregon to do an article about wolves. Her first interviewee is handsome Jackson Holt, a wealthy ranch owner who refuses to talk to her about the subject. Determined to succeed, Uli continues to ask questions of other ranchers, and a local Native American teacher, even after sustaining slashed tires, a broken windshield, and a kidnapping.
Jackson, in spite of his feelings about wolves, falls for Uli and watches over her. Uli, still determined to return to Portland to help her family, falls for Jackson. Then she realizes she loves Jackson and wants to stay, but before she can decide, she is attacked again, learns who is doing this and why, but might not live to make her decision.

This wonderful romance held my interest from the first word to the last. The author has a way of describing the surroundings so you feel you could drive out there and find the place. You see the gorgeous scenery, the sprawling ranch, and the two cowboys who work for Jackson and who watch out for her.

The characters are wonderful. Ulianna’s struggles between the old world and the new are evident in her reactions and decisions. Her strength of character shows in her persistence, even in the face of danger. Jackson, a bachelor, reveals his feelings, beliefs and strengths, as well as his gradual willingness to listen to Uli. The author depicts the stages of the romance in a way that fits perfectly with the feelings and doubts of Uli and Jackson.

The loving older couple, from whom Uli rents a room, depicted as the average American couple and who become like surrogate parents to Uli, greatly add to this story. The mystery behind the attacks is well hidden, yet the clues are there. I did not learn the surprising truth until the end.

A delightful, poignant read. I’ll be looking for more from this author.

Overall rating:
Sensuality rating: Very sensual

Reviewer: Jaye Leyel
May 25, 2010

Love Changes

When I was fourteen years old, I was in love with a rock star. His boyish good looks and toothy grin, as seen on my television screen, won me over. I continued to be smitten with him until his songs moved down the hit chart, and I moved on to other rock musicians. Even though I couldn’t settle on one star, I knew I would never lose my love for the music.

I graduated from high school and moved on with my life, this time taking notice of the men around me. After trial and error, I found a man with a sexy smile and dimple in his cheek. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, and with our two minds together we could solve most problems, or at least work through them.

Five months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a concert on the Oregon Coast starring the rock singer with the toothy grin. Somehow, he still had the boyish looks, but he didn’t lure me in as before. What I did like was the awesomeness of being in the same room with him, while thinking about what my teen self would have thought about being close enough at one point to reach out and touch. Basically, in present time, it was surreal to see the man in person.

There was something else I noticed at the concert. With my teen years long gone, my hormones are quieter and my love is no longer shallow. I’ve fixed my love on my husband, and it is a deeper love than I’d ever thought possible, even without the passion of the early years. Then, I believed I’d find true love, but could not fathom the deepness of the love that I’ve come to know. Remarkably love changes.

I loved the concert, to go back in time is a wonderful experience, but I also liked sitting on the beach peacefully soaking up the sun with my husband and talking about nothing in particular. I no longer sit and stare at him; however, with maturing I’ve found other things in life that define me as a person apart from him, even though he’s the one I run to with my dreams, my hopes, plans and concerns.

Undoubtedly my younger self would have gotten a kick out of knowing I’d be able to see this heart throb one day, but pretty disgusted that I no longer favor rock music. Again, love changes.