Publisher: Bella Books
If you read a lot of books by the same author, one thing that develops is a feeling for the style she uses. What always interests me is a writer who grows her style, finds ways to improve and doesn't write the same story or characters time after time. There is a challenge to that and to be able to do it indicates creativity. KG MacGregor has written romances for a while, but her plots have become more intricate and her characters more developed, which makes her stories more interesting to read.
Rhapsody is about Ashley Giraud and Julia Whitethorn. Ashley is a popular news anchor in Tampa Bay, naturally concerned that her public image and private life not spill into each other. It's already known that she's a lesbian because of a very public failed relationship, but she wants to keep that out of the viewers' minds as much as possible. Ashley prefers to retreat into her home and shut out the world when she's on her own time. When she needs a new hairstylist, she's directed towards Rhapsody, the shop owned by Julia. Rhapsody is a gathering place for a diverse group of lesbian friends and Ashley finds herself drawn into their world. Roller skating, dancing, charities and the events of her new friends' lives begin to draw her out, but there are things about her past that she's not sure she wants to share with these people yet. Julia is attracted to Ashley and realizes that she's dealing with some inner demons, so she tries to be patient, but how long do you wait for the butterfly to come out of its cocoon?
The word "rhapsody" has more than one meaning. An archaic one is that it's a portion of an epic poem that is recited. The more common one is that it's an irregular musical composition with a lot of improvisation. Rhapsody in many ways combines those definitions. There is the classic story of two women coming together to try and establish a relationship. At the same time there are twists and turns in the story involving unusual friendships and events that the characters have to relate to spontaneously and sometimes atypically. There is almost a dance that goes on between Ashley and Julia as Ashley tries to find new ways to respond to these women and Julia struggles to give her the space she needs while staying close enough to help.
To perform that dance requires characters with experience in life. They've practiced the dance before and failed. This tells them how intricate and difficult the situations are and what the possible pitfalls can be. This requires characters who are more mature and seasoned. So many books feature bright perky twenty-somethings who can offer beauty and energy, but no real talent at dealing with life or the maturity to see the consequences of their actions. MacGregor's characters are older. They have experiences they can call on to navigate the dance, yet they still make mistakes because they are so human. It gives the characters a richness and depth that is often missing in other books.
Rhapsody is a very satisfying romance for those who love the genre, but it offers a lot more for the person who is looking for something extra in her reading. MacGregor might not have been able to write this story ten years ago, but she has grown her style to where she masters the technique now. It showcases her ability and makes this an interesting story to read.