Urban Renewal

Lee Ann
Sontheimer Murphy
ISBN Number: 

Mercedes Montague has a grueling multi-city promo tour scheduled for yet another blockbuster movie.  Cities and events have blurred together with little meaning but when she finds herself in Kansas City, a change sparks.  Kansas City isn’t far from her hometown and her former life as Marie Dillard.  Hoping to leave her starlet days behind, Marie embarks on a journey of re-discovery.  St. Joseph still holds the same charm it had when Marie left for Hollywood and when she bumps into her high school sweetheart, Joe Shelby, her return to roots seems complete.  She discovers Joe’s love for her is like St. Joseph—it hasn’t changed much since those simpler days.  But Joe, like Marie, has baggage. His is in the form of a hellion step-son who threatens to expose Marie’s hiding place.  But that’s just one problem in a string.  Marie’s agent/manager and the tabloid paparazzi are desperate to bring Mercedes Montague back into the spotlight and Marie knows she can’t hide forever.  

Urban Renewal’s small hometown nostalgia is genuine.  It begins with believability and a good premise but the pacing creates a too-comfortable lull.  Too soon the relationship between Marie and Joe becomes tired and the sex scenes teeter on the clinical side, disrupting a passionate reunion.  The conflict held definite promise but ended up following the tone of the book by not quite reaching its potential.


Sandy Ponton