|By Christina Crooks|
Want to make Fate laugh? Try telling her who’s in charge. Talented, down-on-her-luck puppeteer Ginnie Anderson’s life seems destined to fall down around her ears. Much like the rented bungalow that’s just collapsed in a heavy rainstorm, endangering her precious collection of marionettes. Her livelihood in need of protection and repair, she can’t refuse her landlord’s offer of temporary shelter in his magnificent home. Under his roof, though, she finds her hard-won grasp on her independence slipping—and herself falling into his arms.
The hallmark of Harry Barrett’s business success: he never makes the same mistake twice, particularly when it comes to manipulative women. So why is Ginnie, who pulls strings for a living, like a siren’s song in his blood? It’s best to put temptation as far out of reach as possible. Yet when Ginnie’s past threatens to destroy the life she’s built for herself, Harry must decide which is more important. Holding tight to his sense of self preservation, or letting go to capture Ginnie’s fragile heart—before it breaks into a thousand pieces.
In Hands On, Christina Crooks has woven a charming modern-day fairy tale fans of contemporary romance will enjoy. Ginnie is a masterful yet unlucky puppeteer whose difficult past, including an abusive ex, brings her to Portland in hopes of starting a new life. Instead of a fresh start, she finds more despair when her rented house crumbles during a strong rainstorm. Luckily for Ginnie, her hero arrives just in time to save her and her marionettes from certain doom. Her champion just happens to be her landlord Harry, who is also a reclusive billionaire business tycoon hiding from unforgivable betrayals in his past. Certainly fate has brought these two troubled people together for a reason. Both Ginnie and Harry must decide if they're willing to give up a bit of their control and risk opening their hearts to the possibility of love.
For me the highlights of Hands On were the well-developed characters and the original use of marionettes in the story. What first drew me to the story was the heroine's unique career as a puppeteer. I was impressed with the author's knowledge of puppeteering and her descriptions of the marionettes. She even had the characters use them to express their feelings for one another. This story was definitely focused on Ginnie and Harry and their struggle to learn to trust again. I had a difficult time with Harry's character at first. He was not easy to like, and he pushed Ginnie away for a very long time. I really liked Ginnie from the beginning. She was charming, strong, caring, and talented, and she didn't deserve to be treated poorly. Obviously his hurt went much deeper than hers, but by the end Harry had definitely won me over. Hands On was a very enjoyable romantic story with compelling, realistic characters. After reading this book I definitely see puppeteering in a new light!
Review copy courtesy of the author.