Title: “The Morbid & Sultry Tales of Genevieve Clare”
Author: J. B. Hartnett
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 30th October, 2014.
Cover Designer: LM Creations
My name is Genevieve Clare, professional mourner, destined to spend my days donning a black suit and throwing myself on top of caskets for money. Sometimes I mixed it up and threw myself on top of a willing warm body instead. Finding the right warm body though, that was a different story.
Complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Death is such a taboo subject when, in fact, it really should not be. Now, do not go into this book thinking that that is everything this story is about: no, this is a love story that makes you feel everything. The love story between Genevieve Clare and Ahren Finnegan is sweet, funny, life affirming, and uplifting. Add to that some great, dry wit delivered by some of the secondary characters, a bit of steaminess, and overall “feel-good-vibes”, and I am positive that you will come to love, maybe even adore, this book as much as I do.
As always, I will not give away any spoilers of the story, but what makes it so much more important than usual is the fact that this is such a different romance novel from what we see on the market these days, and I honestly believe that it will ruin the reading pleasure for you if I reveal too much of it.
Genevieve – Gen – has suffered great loss at a very young age: losing both her parents and grandmother in a horrific way. Needless to say, she is filled with sorrow, but she does not know how to work through it in a “normal” way. She has been in love with Ahren Finnegan since she was a little girl, and even though he admits to feeling the same way about her, fate decides to step in and tear these lovers apart. It does not happen in an overly dramatic way, but, again, I refuse to give any spoilers; suffice it to say, years will pass until Gen and Ahren meet again, and, this time, decide to take a leap of faith in order to find happiness together.
”All the men in my life had been compared, unbeknownst to them, to Ahren Finnegan. They never stood a chance.” (Genevieve)
Gen is a quirky, sweet, and caring person; to say that her line of work is different would be an understatement: I honestly do not know if there exists professional mourners in this day and age, but I kind of hope so. You see, the services Gen offer her clients are compassionate, selfless, and absolutely amazing. Are they eccentric? Yes, absolutely. But is this really such a bad thing? To some, yes – to others, not so much.
As for Ahren: well, he is such a wonderful person. I love him! In some aspects, he is just as scared as Gen, but I love his stubbornness, his humour, and his alpha tendencies (especially in the bedroom *wink*). He understands Gen like no other person does, and he knows how to handle her when she feels afraid and want to bolt. Furthermore, he understands why she has chosen the profession she has, and that means everything.
‘”I wanted to be your first, Gen. All those years, I knew I could say anything, tell you anything, and you would’ve thought it was cool or asked me more, and we would talk. I missed you. I missed talking to you. Not the little girl you; I missed you.”’ (Ahren)
I would also like to add that Ahren is not insecure about opening up the can of worms, and you just have to love a man who does not shy away from disagreeing with his woman – because that, my dear readers, is not an easy task!
‘“No going back,” he said firmly. “I mean it, Gen. It’s you and me, now. Not our pasts. Now. If you ask me to leave, I will not go. Do you understand?”’ (Ahren)
As I said in the beginning of my review: death is not something you want to dwell on – and I do not think that you should, of course – but neither is it a subject to ignore at the same time. It just is. It is a fact of life, plain and simple. But what I feel that Miss Hartnett wants to tell us by writing this story is that one should make the most of one’s life; that it is more than acceptable to be different; and, last, that love is all that matters in the end. True love, in any shape or form, is everything. And that brings me hope.
‘I felt his smile against my own. “What if something happens to me?” I asked. He held my face in his hands and said, “Then you wait for me to join you, baby. I won’t be far behind.”’ (Genevieve & Ahren)
So: yes, I recommend this rather different, but endearing, romance novel: the storyline is unusual; Gen and Ahren are lovely, believable, and genuine characters; Miss Hartnett’s storytelling skills are so unique, and you can really feel that she cares deeply for every single person she introduces us to in her book; finally, the cast of secondary characters in this novel is so much fun! Yes, even when you find yourself bawling your eyes out – and yes, that I did – you will end up smiling because of something a certain person said in a previous chapter.
This has become one of my favourite books this year, so please take a chance, dear reader, and buy it!
ENJOY THE EXCERPT!
I approached Bryce Oskin, with caution, and when I reached his side, he demanded, “Who the fuck are you?”
Charm and disarm. Charm and disarm.
“I’m Genevieve Clare, Mr. Oskin,” I said with a grin. “I believe you hired me to come to your funeral? Mind if I join you?” I brought my own bag of goodies and opened a white baker’s box from Brewster’s.
“You some kind of spooky chick?” he asked, his eyes squinting as he studied me.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was… sweet on me already. “Kinda, yeah. If by spooky you mean I get paid to go to funerals, give people a nudge, and check for a heartbeat. Oh, and I live at Eden Hills. Then yeah, I’m spooky.” I grabbed a plastic fork and took a bite of amazing cake. It was always amazing, but today it seemed more amazing than usual.
“There,” I nodded toward the folder I’d set down on a little table to his side. “I just need you to sign on the dotted line. And the bag there is from Ruby. But I’m taking over the goody-bag duties, so tell me what you like and I’ll get it for you.” I licked my lips and did it seductively because I knew this was a man who appreciated a woman. Also known as a dirty old man. “Want a bite?”
“You gonna tell that Nazi Nurse Ratchet on me?” He jerked his head toward Cheryl.
“Are you gonna drop dead from half a slice of cake?” I countered.
“Then I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship, Mr. Oskin. I visit once a week, unless I have a funeral, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday. I always bring cake for my clients. If there’s something you don’t like, just tell me. But I usually bring a selection.”
“You do this every week?” he asked, disbelief in his voice.
“What do you mean?”
“You eat like that every week? When you see other clients?” His eyes slid up and down the length of my body.
“I have a high metabolism.” I smiled. It really was a miracle I wasn’t as big as a house. But my sweet tooth was limited to sharing with clients. I had to give myself some sort of boundaries.
He grabbed the plastic fork I’d handed him and stabbed the slice of Meyer lemon cake with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. His eyes closed, and when they opened, he said, “God bless you.” After a few more bites, he asked, “So, you’re gonna open up my box and poke me before they burn me, right?”
“Yes, sir, I’ll make sure you’re good and dead.”
“Spooky chick.” His tone was gruff, but his lip tipped up in the corner.
I saw it with pride. Disarmament, accomplished.
Bryce Oskin had ordered the Shake N Bake. I had permission from most of the mortuaries and crematories to open the casket and check the body. I mean, you could just tell when someone was dead. By the time I had my turn with the deceased, they were most likely already embalmed. But some of them chose not to be, or if they were, they hired me to come to their place of death and make damn sure there was no chance in hell they were coming back to life.
A while back, there was a highly publicized case in Southern California. A woman had been pronounced dead and taken to the hospital morgue. But when they opened the fridge for her to be transported to the funeral home, they saw obvious signs of a struggle. She’d been put in there alive.
I’d never been afraid of death, and, after my family died and the man I loved almost had, I embraced death in my own strange way. I made it my life’s work, I guess. While it took a lot to creep me out, that story gave me the heebie-jeebies something fierce. It was all over the news. Every staff member from the hospital to the morgue was investigated then sued or fired or both. And, of course, old people sitting in the common room of a rest home from the wee a.m. hours to beddy-bye time, saw that story six times in one day, minimum. I ended up receiving so many requests to make sure they weren’t breathing, I added the Shake N Bake to my website
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie is a Southern California native, a fan of a really good story (preferably romance with a happily ever after), really good pie (preferably pumpkin) and copious amounts of coffee (preferably Folgers).
She has always enjoyed writing and at one time thought she could be a singer songwriter…the ‘writer’ part is the one that stuck.
Julie is obsessed with pi…the equation (and the food). She’s allergic to cats and cantaloupe and hates mushrooms…so if you ever want to give her a gift, those are out for sure. She currently lives with her own romance hero husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia.
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