by Kathleen Bacus

July 2006
ISBN: 0-505-52669-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Lovespell
Mass Market Paperback

In her latest book Calamity Jayne Rides Again, Kathleen Bacus once again introduces us to her bumbling heroine, Tressa Jayne Turner. I’m quite pleased to be able to say this second installment in the Calamity Jayne series caught my attention early on and kept me wanting to turn the pages until the last one.

Tressa and her family are getting ready for the big Iowa State Fair. It’s traditional that everyone in Tressa’s family pitch in and help her Uncle Frank with his concession stands at the fair. Between running Frank’s concessions and the close quarters they’ll all be sharing during the duration of the fair you’d think the family would grow close and no secrets could be hidden. However, time and time again Ms. Bacus will with her wit show how secrets can be easily hidden.

Every year Frank and one of his main competitors have a bet; who will be the concessionaire with the highest sales. The loser must donate something to better the fair in the winner’s name. Tradition has Frank being the winner and Mr. Daggert being the loser. Will this year be different?

Someone is sabotaging Frank’s two prime locations at the fair. It becomes Tressa's mission, better known as Calamity amongst friends and family, to prove that the saboteur is not Frank’s son Frankie, who has no interest in the business and continuing in his father’s illustrious footsteps. If that person is not Frankie, then who amongst the various concessionaires could be the responsible party? Ms. Bacus gives readers several likely villains, but I believe that like me, you will be surprised at the eventual outcome.

Tressa as is her usual style bumbles along, but unlike the first book where it seems like she didn’t have a brain in her head and didn’t really think about her family, there appears to be a big turn around. This time, Tressa seems to be trying to think things out in a rational manner. She still doesn’t ask for assistance from the people she probably should, but she shows definite maturity and brain growth.

Calamity Jayne Rides Again also brings back Ranger Rick, his grandpa Joe, and Tressa’s grandmother Hannah. Joe and Hannah have more scenes together and the underlying sexual tension between them is something to make readers smile, and think about their own golden years. Rick and Tressa continue to circle around each other, but the sexual tension is growing, and becoming more believable.

I enjoyed Calamity Jayne Rides Again and look forward to Ms. Bacus’ upcoming release to reacquaint myself with characters for which I didn’t think I’d grow an attachment, but have. My only question…how many adventures can Calamity stumble her way through before the bumbling does get to be excessive.

Reviewed in October 2006 by Sandi.

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