December 2012, Contemporary Romance
Self-Published, $3.99, 225 pages
Mending the Line was my first foray into self-published territory, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. There are still some stereotypes, but I also knew that my colleagues had found some great stories that had been self-published. What I got was akin to a series romance, in my opinion: short, sweet, and straightforward.
Jill Jennings had Olympic dreams before she broke her leg while training. Some nine months later, she’s not back to par, and the idea of four more years of training to get back to where she was before her accident is daunting, to say the least – not to mention that her relationship with her father is strained due to his aggressive coaching. So when she abruptly quits training, she suddenly doesn’t know what to do with herself and lacks any parental support or guidance on discovering a new path.
The small town in Colorado Jill comes from is a summer town, where people from all over come to raft and fish on the Rio Grande. Ty Bloodworth was there last summer as a fishing guide, and in fact was the one who brought Jill to the hospital when she broke her leg. He’s back again, this time without a girlfriend. Last summer he was utterly enamored of Jill, but from a distance; he was still with his girlfriend and unavailable, even if he knew that particular relationship was well on its way to being over.
Jill and Ty are relatively young – 22 and 24, respectively. Jill is a recent college graduate who has never used her degree, but itches to find some life purpose outside of running competitively. Ty recently finished his master’s degree and has a teaching position lined up in his family's home state of North Carolina. Their budding relationship has a timeline, though neither wants to discuss it.
Their story is a sweet one, with a relatively uncomplicated romance. Yes, there is the question of the future, but that is really the only question. Ty is a good guy, and good for Jill. Jill is in the midst of a bit of an existential crisis when they first start talking and dating, and for someone so young, Ty has his head on his shoulders – more so than many of my peers in their mid-20s. His decision to spend another summer in Colorado, instead of Wyoming like he originally planned, seems sweet rather than creepy. And it could very well be creepy; he and Jill were not particularly close that first summer, and this is the sort of grand gesture usually reserved for someone you have a strong connection with. However, the author made it work.
This is a fairly short story; the 225-page count includes an excerpt of the author’s other work. It’s a quick read and a straightforward one. There’s no subtlety and no reading between the lines of this one. That’s not a bad thing, if that’s what you’re looking for. If you are looking for more complexity and shades of meaning, this book probably wouldn’t be for you. But if you just want a light, quick read, this would be a great choice.