Kiss Me That Way is an engaging story set in the small, southern town of Cottonbloom. Author Laura Trentham has created an unusual setting which appealed to me. The town of Cottonbloom is set in two different states and is divided by a river. One side of town is wealthy Cottonbloom, Mississippi and the blue collar side of town is located in Louisiana. The author does a fabulous job of comparing and contrasting the residents from both sides of town. I loved the quirky townspeople in this slice -of l-life novel, especially Uncle Delmar and the Quilting Bees.
The first chapter of the book introduces Cade Fournette and Monroe Kirby and provides their back story. The reader learns that on the Louisiana side of Cottonbloom, Cade grew up quickly after his parents were killed by a drunk driver. He was determined to keep his family together and worked several jobs to provide for food and shelter for himself, as well as for his younger brother and sister. Cade regularly crosses the river into Mississippi to poach rabbits and fish. One evening while hunting, Cade finds thirteen-year old Monroe Kirby sitting in his boat which he has hidden by the river on the Mississippi side of town. Monroe has run away from her home because her mother’s drunk boyfriend tried to rape her. Cade walks Monroe home that evening and their five year secret friendship begins. The pair meet monthly until Cade suddenly disappears without a word leaving Monroe heartbroken.
The present day story begins in the second chapter as Monroe is shocked to find an injured Cade in her physical therapy office. Even though she hasn’t seen him in ten years, Monroe has kept up with him through her best friend, Cade’s sister Tally. Monroe agrees to treat Cade, who has injured himself while climbing a cliff. The author does a fabulous job establishing the realistic development of Monroe and Cade’s romance. Even though Monroe and Cade share a past—he was her knight in shining armor—they are very different now. Both characters have unresolved self-esteem and trust issues from their childhood. In addition to her job as a physical therapist, Monroe teaches a self-defense class and works with teenage girls. Cade is a savvy, wealthy businessman who is based on the west coast. The chemistry between the couple sizzles and the author’s descriptive writing style allows the reader to see Cade and Monroe deal with social and emotional challenges as their romance progresses.
Kudos to Laura Trentham for tackling the subjects of abuse and alcoholism in the novel. These themes are woven subtly throughout the novel. Kiss Me That Way has all of the elements of a contemporary novel that appeal to me. It presents an original, passionate love story with well-crafted main and secondary characters, lots of humor and a unique setting. The author blended the right amount of humor, passion and angst in the novel. The novel’s conclusion was superb, not what I expected but perfect for the couple and their story.
This is the first book written by Laura Trentham that I have read. I enjoyed it very much and am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Reviewed by Susan Gorman