by Clare Naylor

February 2006
ISBN: 0-345-46341-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books
Trade Paperback

Kate Disney was an artist making her home in her bossí garden shed. She painted pet portraits for a living. She loved animals, thanks to her father, and was told by many of her talents. Kate, however, doubted her own abilities, which was why she did not venture into painting portraits of people. Fear of failure was a big problem for Kate. It was why she always settled for less - why she allowed her ex-boyfriend to reduce her to a booty-call. Kate didnít aspire to being walked on, she just didnít believe in herself. She didnít believe she could do better. Hence, it was a godsend when Mirabelle Moncur barged into Kateís life ushering her into a whole new world. Whether she liked it or not.

Mirabelle was back in England after an absence of nearly 20 years. The elusive French film star retired to Africa where she spent her time and money caring for animals. This being the case, it was not surprising for Mirri to decide to bring her lion cub to acclaimed pet artist, Kate Disney. The two women eased into a friendship, which seemed most unlikely in the beginning. Mirabelle was a free spirit who spoke her mind. She said out loud what others would only dare to mumble quietly to themselves. Kate desired the familiar; she had her comfort zones clearly marked out. In short, she was too English.

The more time Kate spent in Mirabelleís company the more she loosened up and began to want to dip her toe in carefree waters. Mirabelle expected the best because she felt she deserved the best. Kate found herself developing self-esteem of her own and about time, too. She may never be as free and easy as her friend, but Kate changed enough that when a second chance at love came around she was not afraid to take the risk. Still, decisions lie in wait for Kate that tested her newfound confidence. Does she make the right choice? And was she strong enough to help her friend who turned out to be not so self-reliant after all? Find out in Clare Naylorís The Goddess Rules.

Third person narrative is used in this book, which I prefer to the first person. For me, Naylorís writing was the saving grace. The main characters annoyed me. In the beginning, I thought Kateís insecurities made her easy to relate to, but it wasnít long before I realized she was that person who made you pretend to be gone when she showed up on your doorstep. Mirri, I felt, was ruder than she was carefree.

The Goddess Rules is not a romance novel. This is the first book by Ms. Naylor Iíve read. Her writing style invites me to try her other books and I will.

Reviewed in May 2006 by Rho.

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