Josette by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Josette by Kathleen Bittner RothI picked Josette because I was in the mood for a historical romance and wanted to get the feel for the United States in the Victorian Era, but historical romance can be hit or miss depending on the abilities of the author to transport the reader to that time. When I started reading, the level of detail seemed a bit excessive to me. I like a light touch in description and have a tendency to skim if it gets too much. Still, the story began with an odd circumstance in which Cameron, the leading man, is in San Francisco instead of New Orleans, and the other character earning main screen time is apparently a very young boy who’d stowed away on one of Cameron’s shipping fleet. Curiosity, if nothing else, kept me reading.

I’m not sure exactly when my hesitation stripped away, but the next thing I knew, I was buried neck deep in a complex tale of youthful indiscretions coming back to haunt, and save, a man who is searching for balance after the loss of his wife and child.

But this is not just Cameron’s story. Josette, the leading woman, has her own situation to deal with, one infused with prejudice, a couple of true villains, and the most tangled but strong family ties I’ve read in a long while.

While the novel hits many of the traditional romance notes, it does so wrapped around lovely complications so succeeds in offering both the comfort of familiarity and the fun of exploration.

The sex is explicit, but it’s neither overly detailed nor the central focus, something I wasn’t expecting when Josette and Cameron ended up in bed quite early in the book. The tension between the two main characters is strong, but even better, the sense that it’s more than just physical is tangible, especially with how Josette had a crush on him as a child. However, as with all good reads, the sex only makes things more difficult as Josette has two overly protective brothers and Cameron has a history with both of them.

Add in a Voodoo priestess mother, a cousin with no scruples and a history of wrongdoing, and a child Cameron never knew existed who is torn between her ties to the bayou and the longing for her father, and what you get is a rich tapestry filled with cultural details that enchanted me. The characters had to balance past conflicts with the need to cooperate, and the wonder of it is they do not always get it right. Real mistakes are made and need to be resolved for the good of all.

I got everything I hoped for and more. Josette offered a satisfying, entertaining read, and I’ll definitely consider picking up more from Kathleen Bittner Roth in the future.

P.S. I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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