Monday, June 7, 2010

No One Can Resist a Natural Born Charmer

Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a trip to figure out what's gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of Colorado highway, he spies something that will shake up his gilded life in ways he can't imagine. A young woman . . . dressed in a beaver suit.

Blue Bailey is on a mission. As for the beaver suit she's wearing . . . Is it her fault that life keeps throwing her curve balls? Witness the expensive black sports car pulling up next to her on the highway and the Greek god stepping out of it.

They're soon heading for his summer home, where their already complicated lives and inconvenient attraction to each other will become entangled with a charismatic but aging rock star; a beautiful, fifty-two-year-old woman trying to make peace with her rock and roll past; an eleven-year-old who desperately needs a family; and a bitter old woman who hates them all.

Title: Natural Born Charmer
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Start & Finished: 6/2/10- 6/3/10
Published: February 6, 2007
Publisher: Avon
Pages: 385
Genre: Romance- Contemporary

Inducted into the Romance Writers of American (RWA) Hall of Fame in 2001 and who is a recipient of the RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is well known for her fantastic romance stories. Her most well known ones are the books that feature the Chicago Stars or Bonner Brothers. Ms. Phillips said that during the tour for Natural Born Charmer she realized that her Chicago Star series ended in 2001 with This Heart of Mine but all of her "characters exist in the same creative universe." This is why Match Me if You Can and this story aren't really considered part of the series yet they have characters from the previous stories in them so technically Natural Born Charmer is a stand-alone book.

If a book has a sassy heroine and at least one crotchety, cranky elderly person who's really a bit of a marshmallow under all those prickly quills then it's almost a sure bet that I will love it. As you can probably guess, Natural Born Charmer has both of these things and a multi-millionaire athlete who's a lot more than just another pretty face to boot. That athlete is Dean Robillard who first appeared in chapter two of Match Me if You Can, the book that Susan Elizabeth Phillips wrote prior to this one with his “diamond studs glittering in his earlobes” (he’s lost these in this book though).

This is a hilarious book but it has more depth than the normal fluffy chick-lit since it explores estranged and strained relationships with families and what that does to all of the characters. Both Blue (and what a neat name that is!) and Dean had crappy childhoods that left them with emotional scars. “You’re awfully bitter about your parents. I’m beginning to think your childhood was as twisted as mine.” He brushed his toe against the hollow below her ankle bone. “The difference being that I’ve recovered, and you’re still a fruitcake.”

Blue is a bit prickly but she’s truly a unique and original character, especially the way she perceives herself (or at least that’s what she tells Dean): “I have so much character that adding beauty to the mix would be greedy.” That’s what is so great about a Susan Elizabeth Phillips romance, you know you’re going to get great characters along with a good plot but I believe she outdid herself with her secondary characters here (I loved Jack Patriot, Nita, and April). The American Library Association voted Natural Born Charmer as the Outstanding Romance of 2007 and it wasn’t the first, nor probably the last of this author’s books to win an award.

“Just drive and look gorgeous,” she said. “No need to tax your brain by talking.”
She had more nerve than any woman he’d ever met.

Books with Other Chicago Stars / Bonner Brothers
It Had to Be You (1994)
Heaven Texas (1995)
Nobody's Baby But Mine (1997)
Dream a Little Dream (1998)
This Heart of Mine (2001)
Match Me If You Can (2005)
Natural Born Charmer (2007)

First Paragraph: It wasn't every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of the road, not even in Dean Robillard's larger-than-life world. "Son of a..." Dean slammed on the brakes of his brand-new Aston Martin Vanquish and pulled over in front of her.

Author’s Wikipedia
Author’s Facebook

Source: From personal collection

Picture Explanations
Football: Dean is the quarterback for the Chicago Stars
Gypsy Caravan: Dean's housekeeper talked him into buying this and Blue loves it. She sleeps there after it arrives
Paint: Painting is how Blue earns her bread and butter
Vanquish: Dean's baby!


  1. This does sound like a lot of fun!

  2. Oh! It's true that this book is super awesome!!!
    I have it in my personal collection as well.

    Is it your favorite from the Chicago Star's Universe? Mine is Dream a Little Dream in general, and with a football hero This Heart of Mine.


    Ps -yeah, I love Lisa Kleypa's books, you should try 'em out! *grings*

  3. I agree with the others--sounds fun. I need a good fun read this summer, so I'm short listing it.

  4. I kind of feel I've been living under a rock for never having heard of her before!

  5. I love sassy heroines. This sounds like a fun series.

  6. Bermudaonion: It was!

    AnimeGirl: I think I liked Match Me if You Can a little better but I did love it. I'll have to add Kleypa to my list since I don't have any in my personal library.

    Sadako: I hope you enjoy it. She writes good, funny stories

    Nymeth: She's a fairly popular romance author. Not quite Nora Roberts but still up there.

    Wendy: I do too. There's nothing I can't stand more than a heroine who lets everyone get away with walking all over her.



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