Review: Cheryl Bolen’s It Had to Be You.

Most writers I know have at least one project tucked away in a box under the bed or a file folder on her hard drive, a story that just doesn’t fit the demands of the New York market.  Something she had to write, a story she had to tell, whether it ever sold or not.  That includes multi-published authors like my friend Cheryl Bolen, most of whose novels take place in Regency England.

The new world of independent e-publishing has brought some of those stories out into the light.  Cheryl’s World War II romance did well in contests, but her publishers preferred the certainty of the Regency market.  Now those of us with e-readers or properly app-equiped gadgets can enjoy it at last.

It Had to Be You is a sweeping novel set in southern California in the 1930s and 40s.  Dianne Castle, small town girl from Texas, arrives in the fast-growing city of Los Angeles with an unusual ambition for the day–she wants to be a journalist.

As the story opens, Dianne witnesses a small plane crash.  The tragedy changes Dianne’s life, providing her with introductions into both the newspaper world and the Japanese community.  These connections draw her into the orbit of the charismatic owner of Club Borneo, Johnny Honda.  Passing events pull them together–and drag them apart.

The novel paints a vivid picture of Hollywood before World War II, as Dianne meets Humphrey Bogart at a poker game, spends a weekend visiting Marion Davies at San Simeon, and even rates an occasional mention in Louella Parson’s gossip column.

On a more serious note, It Had to Be You follows the prewar bigotry and wartime persecution against the Issei (Japanese-born immigrants like Johnny’s mother) and Nisei (first-generation American-born Japanese like Johnny and his contemporaries) in California.

Satisfying on all levels, It Had to Be You is well worth reading.  It is available at Amazon for the Kindle (just click on the cover) and at Barnes & Noble for the Nook.

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Aug 21, 2011 @ 19:21:03

    I am so humbled. One of my books is the subject of a blog! Thank you so much, Kay.



  2. patodearosen
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 08:08:24

    I’m glad I found your blog, Kay. Thanks for the intro. to IT HAD TO BE YOU. I don’t yet have an e-reader. Do you favor Kindle over Nook?



    • Kay Hudson
      Aug 22, 2011 @ 10:01:22

      Pat, I really like my Kindle (even though I miss flipping through physical pages); I have no experience with the Nook. I bought the Kindle at least partly because I had a substantial gift card to Amazon, but also because I’ve been a regular Amazon shopper for a long time. I have the 3G version–costs a little more to begin, but you never have to hunt for a WiFi connection. (If you’re a regular WiFi user that might not matter.)



  3. Karen Newton
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 08:33:44

    Nice review…entices me to read it.



  4. Colleen Thompson
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 09:21:34

    Sounds like an awesome read, and I love Cheryl’s books! Thanks for sharing this one!



  5. Kay Hudson
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 10:03:11

    Hi, Karen and Colleen! You’ll enjoy the book. Cheryl really captures the feel of the time and location.



  6. vicky dreiling
    Aug 22, 2011 @ 10:37:29

    Lovely review!



  7. Cheryl Bolen
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 13:04:03

    My thanks to all of you for the sweet things you say about my books.



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