Blood and Sand (The Collected Stories of Ramsbolt Book 1),
by Jennifer M. Lane
Publication: Pen & Key Publishing (August 26, 2019)
About the book:
Welcome to Ramsbolt, Maine. Home to one red light, one tavern, and one grumpy old man intent on making Logan Cole’s life hell.
After her father makes headlines for crimes against the country, Logan moves to Ramsbolt, the smallest town she can find, hoping for anonymity and relief from the social media storm. Trading a silver spoon for a cocktail shaker, she’s hardly prepared for work in a sticky bar, serving drinks to demanding residents and fending off the advances of the town’s charming plumber.
But pouring beers and making cocktails are the least of her worries. When tragedy strikes, she must choose between saving the town or saving herself.
I apologize for not getting to this review sooner because I have been eager to read Blood and Sand. However, work-life and reality have delayed this one. I first had contact from Jennifer last year and happily read and reviewed her amazing novel, Of Metal and Earth. Please see my review here, just in case you missed it. I was so moved and touched by that novel that I honestly didn’t know if she could recreate anything even close to as wonderful, but I was wrong.
The blurb for Blood and Sand doesn’t do this novel justice, and that’s my only negative criticism. Imagine growing up as one of the most wealthy children in the county. Imagine living a life where your maid/housekeeper is your best friend and only true, loving family. Imagine all of that taken away, yet still mustering the strength and ferocity to make something of yourself. That’s what this novel is about. Logan Cole grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth, yet thanks to her housekeeper, Marta, she managed to grow up with compassion and humility. When her father is sent to jail for a series of white-collar crimes, the world turns on Logan as if she committed the crimes herself. What does she do? She moves to the middle of nowhere in Ramsbolt, Maine and makes a difference.
When we meet Logan upon her arrival in Maine to hide out until “everything blows over” with her father, she’s never made her own meals or even purchased her own bedding or kitchen utensils. In the blink of an eye, she’s gone from flying to London for dinner if she so desired to lying to bar-owner Helen about fake experience in order to get a job. However, this isn’t a “poor little rich girl done wrong” story. This novel is about sucking it up, moving on, and stepping up to the plate for one’s self, as well as, for others.
Logan is a complex character with poise and charm, coupled with humility and utilitarianism. From her stubborn tenacity at the start of the novel to her confidence and peace at the conclusion, I loved everything about Logan.
In addition to Logan and her internal and external conflicts is a wonderful cast of secondary characters. From bar-owner Helen and her arthritic hands and knees to the postman Riley, to the grumpy old man Arvil – everything and everyone seems so real and relatable that while reading, you feel as if you are a part of a real hometown filled with people you have known for your entire life.
For those that have followed my blog, you know I love to find a personal connection to the books that I read. On a smaller monetary scale and for different reasons, I have been Logan. I know what’s it’s like to be accustomed to certain niceties, bail-outs, gifts, or whatever you want to call them and then have those monetary luxuries suddenly taken away. And guess what? We all survive, prevail, and reinvent the life that we want for ourselves! Logan is such an amazing character in my eyes because she didn’t pity herself, but instead, she rose above and challenged herself to overcome obstacles that she never knew existed.
Jennifer M. Lane blew me away when I read Of Metal and Earth. I remember raving to everyone about this incredible new author and how touching and real her novel was. Blood and Sand has gone far beyond my hopes and expectations as far as my second time reading something from Lane. This author has an extraordinary gift not only for making her characters come to life or making them relatable but making you feel as if she was writing about you or someone you know. Whether it be her point of view, her imagery, or emotion – there is something about this writer that gets into your soul while reading her work.
I hate to repeat things that I said in my review of her previous work, however, I can’t pinpoint a particular audience that I recommend this novel too. It’s another one that I feel that anyone, would not only love but feel honored to have read.
Many thanks to Jennifer M. Lane for gracing me with a review copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.