Saturday, August 13, 2011

Too Close to Touch by Georgia Beers

Publisher:               Bold Strokes Books

Too Close To Touch is about a woman who has dedicated her life to trying to please "Daddy" and lost herself in the process. In becoming successful in her career, she has bottled up her emotions until she doesn't have any, except anger. 

Gretchen Kaiser is an extremely capable corporate executive. She's the type that companies hire to come in and solve problems, which is exactly what she intends to do in her new position. She takes no prisoners and accepts no excuses. She knows how to compete in a man's world, but she has some problems being a woman. Gretchen runs her personal life with the same efficiency that she runs her office. Relationships are things that should be briefly experienced, conquered and then discarded to move on to the next challenge. The only real goal she has is one that it seems she'll never reach. She wants to hear her father say he's proud of the work she's done.

Kylie O'Brien is a caretaker. As an administrative assistant, she takes care of people. She's good at it and she's enjoyed her job so far, but this new boss has her stumped. She senses that there is a real person somewhere inside Gretchen Kaiser who wants to break out, but she's not quite sure how to help her do that. It doesn't help that her life-long best friend Mick works for the same company, had an unpleasant run-in with the new boss and uses every opportunity to try to convince Kylie that Gretchen is a hopeless case. Then again, Mick has an agenda of her own when it comes to Kylie.

Beers has created a pleasant romance that follows the traditional pattern - women meet, women conflict, women see if they can work it out. What makes this book interesting is the development of the character of Gretchen. Anyone who has ever tried to please a difficult success driven parent can relate to how she is handling her life. The question in the book is whether or not she can finally overcome that need to find fulfillment in her own life that her father never had. It isn't an easy struggle and that's what makes the book appealing. There are no simple solutions for Gretchen. She fights her emotions in a very real way and makes mistakes along the way that hurt Kylie. 

There are times when the way that Gretchen expresses these new emotions seem unacceptable until you realize what a struggle she is going through and the role that each experience is playing in the process. Often Gretchen is reacting in the only way she knows how. There are times when Kylie just can't deal with this woman, even though she realizes she loves her. Beers doesn't tie the story up neatly at the end either. She leaves some questions open, which is appropriate for her character. Gretchen herself becomes an open question looking for a lot of answers. This is a very satisfying and thought provoking book to read.

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