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Book Review – Not Even If You Begged Francis Ray for St Martin’s Press

When I started reading this book, I was immediately intrigued by the fluidity of the sentence composition and the sharpness with which the images came off the page. I had to stop reading and Googling the author’s name, Francis Ray, to see why this book was so good. It is not surprising. With twenty novels in print, a dozen awards, and several series, Francis Ray is more than a writer – she’s a franchise.

Not even if you begged it is for “grown-ups and sexy” in the literal sense of that phrase. I’m not talking about the nice reader in his early twenties who is lost in the club scene and says, “Ooooh, that’s my song!” to almost anything the DJ puts on. No, this book is aimed more at the mature reader whose perspective shapes their life and not the other way around.

This book focuses on the love lives of two members of the women’s club “The Invincibles”: Traci Reed and Maureen Gilmore. True to the title, both women have a harder time letting love take its course, but for two very different reasons. The downside is that men beg to love and be loved, and that’s what makes this book so good!

Maureen Gilmore is a widowed Southern Belle who owns a thriving antique store. Although her beauty is ageless, she has a hard time feeling comfortable approaching her sixties. This is especially true when it comes to Simon Dunlap, a police officer who fell in love with Maureen. She is equally in love. Instead of following her heart, she makes a host of excuses, such as her inability to have children or Simon’s ability to pursue a more fruitful relationship.

Traci is a headstrong, well-established attorney who runs her own public relations firm. She married her ex-husband for all the wrong reasons. All one of those reasons came back to do more than bite her in the end, and scar her for life. Always burdened with emotional baggage, she had a harder time allowing Maureen’s son, OB / GYN Ryan Gilmore, to enter her heart for two reasons. One: she thinks she’s too plump for a man of her physique and status to want her. Two: she doesn’t think she can fall in love again after giving her heart to a man who cheated on her.

The problem both women face is the fact that love is love: uncontrollable, mysterious, and all-consuming. Francis Ray skillfully describes all the nuances of the beginning of a lifelong relationship. There’s the misunderstanding, the anxiety, the confusion, the lust … everything the reader needs to dig deep and engage with the characters.

These two love sagas are embedded in a novel that includes a psychiatrist who stalks Ryan, a talented teenager who is a budding artist but who is not loved by his mother and Traci’s grandfather and who struggles to keep his land from being squandered by Traci’s mother.

Not even if you were begging is the kind of book you read and lose track of time due to the depth of the story.

You can see the review of this book here: http://joeypinkney.com/sexier/85.php

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