One of the rules of fiction is “craft a strong opening,” and Janice Thompson nails it in Swinging on a Star:
“If Aunt Rosa hadn’t landed that gig on the Food Network, I probably wouldn’t have ended up on the national news. And if their pesky camera crew hadn’t shown up at our house on one of the most important days of my life, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been hauled off to the Galveston County jail. Unlike my brother Armando, I’d never aspired to get arrested or have my face plastered across the television screen on the evening news.”
I couldn’t stop there!
Bella Rossi manages a wedding facility on Galveston Island, Texas, and her current project is a medieval event complete with castle and costumes. As if that weren’t enough, there’s a TV crew coming to film her aunt’s famous cooking, and the handsome movie star staying at the house until the wedding has her cowboy boyfriend, D.J., on high alert.
Bella lives with her large and boisterous Italian family, and just meeting them made this introvert want to go take a rest. The Rossis are a wealthy family, and Bella’s mother and sister are highly conscious of fashion and makeup.
I didn’t connect immediately. They’re all real, though, and genuinely nice people who are worth getting to know. Add in D.J.’s family and larger-than-life friends, and you have a cast worth spending a novel with.
I don’t read a lot of romantic comedy or chick lit, and it took some time to adjust: no danger, no bodies, mysteries or aliens. By page 43 I was laughing out loud and thinking maybe I usually read the wrong kinds of books.
The book cover is attractive, but not entirely accurate. Bella loves to wear boots—even when maybe she shouldn’t. On the cover she’s wearing shoes and holding what looks suspiciously like a bag of popcorn. Growing up an a household that thrives on made-from-scratch Italian cuisine, would she even have tasted popcorn?
Swinging on a Star is the second title in the Weddings by Bella series. (Book one was Fools Rush In… notice a musical theme?) It’s refreshing, funny, and still gives that sense of hope that readers want in Christian fiction. American author Janice Thompson has published over 50 books and is still going strong. You can find her online at her website.
Swinging on a Star is available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.