Guest Review by StephB at writing.com
Sutton pens a gritty inspirational romance with “First Impressions.” The novel takes place in present day Tombstone, Arizona. Sammie and Jimmy are haunted by their tragic pasts. Jimmy has let the Lord’s word touch him and has become a Christian, but he’ll need to draw on all his faith to tame his attraction to Sammie.
The novel opens with Sammie getting used to her character as a saloon girl in Tombstone, Arizona. When she’s not a character actor, she’s an active duty Army Captain, at nearby Ft. Huachuca. As a teenager, Sammie was insecure about her looks, awkward around boys, and very shy, but since, she’s grown into a very pretty woman. She still is a little awkward around men and hopes that she can get past that by becoming a character actor. Enter Jimmy, a handsome cowboy actor. When Jimmy meets Sammie, the sparks fly.
When Jimmy isn’t acting, he’s a counselor. As a teenager, his father, who was military, died in a parachute accident. His mother died in a traffic accident as she suffered from depression. Jimmy became a Christian and allowed the Lord’s word to heal him. Still, he can’t reconcile the Word to his attraction for Sammie.
Sammie and Jimmy begin to date. The chemistry between them is combustible. Sammie realizes that she met Jimmy as a teenager, but Jimmy can’t seem to put the clues together and she’s reluctant to let the Lord’s word into her heart. Can Jimmy and Sammie put their emotional baggage behind them and come together as a couple? Only time will tell.
Sutton’s writing dives the reader into her character’s lives, making the story hard to put down. The plot is solid. Sutton paints very vivid descriptions bringing Tombstone to life, as well as her characters’ emotions.
Sutton’s characters are rich and complex. Sammie really grows throughout the novel. She wants to learn how to be more comfortable around men, but on a deeper level, she wants to be more comfortable with herself as well. It’s especially rewarding to see Trinity’s Gram help Sammie find the Lord. Sammie has to take the journey without Jimmy’s help so she can come to him as an equal.
Jimmy also grows throughout the novel. While he’s taken the Lord into his life, he has to learn to accept people for what they are and it’s hard for him to accept Sammie’s military career since his father died in the military. He has to reconcile this before he can firmly commit to Sammie.
The story is sensual for romance readers with several heavy kisses and caresses. “First Impressions,” is a romance that embodies 1 Corinthians, Chp. 13, “Love is patient, Love is kind… it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
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