Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review of Pushing Her Boundaries by Julia Rachel Barrett

One of my favorite blog posts last year was Julia Barrett's harrowing account of her Canoe Trip From Hell. Although the trip was at times frightening and frustrating beyond belief, Julia's fabulous sense of humor kept rearing its head and made me laugh out loud while reading this bizarre tale.

When I heard Julia had penned an erotic story using this experience as inspiration, I couldn't wait to read it. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, but it surprised me. It was only loosely based on her experience, and the conflict and resolution between the hero and heroine were quite different from the experience she had with her husband. The truth is, I suspect, Julia realized the severity of this situation would be a perfect back-drop for two people just getting to know each other...just beginning to fall in love. Nothing will reveal your true nature quite like a near-death experience. The harsh and unforgiving circumstances of this canoe trip show what Mace and Maggie are made of.

The heroine is much like Julia....smart, resourceful, determined. In spite of her anger at the horribly incompetent guides, she pulls herself together to survive. And she learns to depend on Mace, who is a fabulous hero. Even though he isn't as aware of his surroundings as Maggie, his protective streak is huge. Mace earns Maggie's trust, and eventually her love. It's very romantic! (Even with the cougar and beavers and moose and ice storms and choppy waves threatening to capsize their canoe, etc etc--You get the idea! It's a wilderness adventure!).

Pushing Her Boundaries has likable, complex characters, sexy chemistry, and fascinating details about wildlife and camping. I'm a luxury hotel-gal myself, so I found the whole thing incredible....especially the fact that people actually choose to go on a trip like this when there are perfectly good cabins available in the woods, with running water, electricity, and take-out pizza joints nearby.

My only disappointment with the book was the ending. It needed more. The emotional resolution was too fast, and the wrap-up of the storyline was not as satisfying as the true-life story. In real life, Julia and her husband survived their ordeal, and in their own way, let Mr. and Mrs. Bob know how awful and incompetent they were. In the fictional account, we only hear about Mr. and Mrs. Bob from a third party...not nearly as satisfying. I really wanted Mace and Maggie to get a chance to let them have it! (I'm a blood-thirsty gal, evidently).

Overall, I thought this was a great read. Maggie and Mace's love developed very believably and was sexy and romantic. My two conclusions after reading this book....

1) Will be reading more stories by Julia Barrett....she's a great writer. And.....
2) Never, ever go camping. Ever. Never.

(Unfortunately, I also watched the movie Anaconda this weekend on the SyFy Channel. My interest in spending any overnight time in the woods/jungle/natural habitats has pretty much fallen to zero.)

Grade: A-/B+

So happy my husband doesn't like camping either,


Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Oh Penny Penny Penny! Go camping! Go canoeing! I'll go back, just not with THEM!
Thank you so much for the review. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. Couldn't bring myself to destroy the Bobs too much...you never know when you might see them again! LOL!
Yes, you're right - I found the wilderness the perfect venue to bring two strangers together.

Penny Watson said...

I used to go camping, in high school. In the middle of winter, with piles of snow everywhere! But then I discovered room service, and my camping trips ended. :^) I do love going for day hikes in the woods, and had a great kayaking trip in RI last year. But I like sleeping on a real mattress at night, w/ indoor plumbing, etc etc. You are much braver than I am!

KT Grant said...

I used to go camping as a kid and I always ended up needing to use the outhouse in the middle of the night. I was always scared some monster chipmunk would come out of the toilet and eat me.

Penny Watson said...

Ha haa....KB, the last camping trip I did, I woke up to find a daddy longlegs crawling over my chest as I lay snuggled up in my sleeping bag on the ground. That sealed the No More Camping Trips deal for me.

Smokinhotbooks said...

I can deal with camping IF there is h20 nearby. Desert camping --> hells no!

Penny Watson said...

Desert camping? Gulp. That sounds like a really, really bad idea. Really. How about camping in a luxury hotel room in Hawaii near the ocean and a pool w/ dolphins swimming in it? And a floating bar with unlimited martinis? Win!

Unknown said...

I agree with you Penny - NO camping and No canoeing for me. :)