Close to You


Oh my, another author to add to my must read list! Not a bad thing but at this point I don’t have enough years left to read all the wonderful books that I want to read. How I must suffer for the cause of Christian fiction!

As you may have already guessed, I really liked “Close to You”, Kara Isaac’s debut novel. I thought her unique story about a guide for a Tolkien tour in New Zealand was inspired.

I loved everything about the heroine Allison including her not-so-subtle surname of “Shire”. Allison has a lot more going on that it appears. She is actually a well-qualified English professor but a bad choice of husbands has left her funds frozen and her family and employer have requested that she keep a low profile because of the scandal. So off to Hobbit Land she went because if she knows anything, she knows Tolkien. Of course she would meet a fellow who is taking the tour but knows little about the books or movies and cares even less. So what do you think happens? Lovable, accident-prone Allie falls for handsome but grouchy Jackson Gregory. And that’s all I’m telling you – you just have to read it for yourself!

This book was great! I enjoyed all the quirky characters and had quite a few moments of laughing out loud. Then there was the romance which I thought was very well done. But woven throughout the fun and games (and romance) was a thought-provoking look at how the characters saw themselves and how important it was to let the Lord lead their lives. Well done Kara!

A copy of this book was provided for review by Howard Books.


A disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand.

Allison Shire (yes, like where the Hobbits live) is a disgraced academic who is done with love. Her belief in “happily ever after” ended the day she discovered her husband was still married to a wife she knew nothing about. She finally finds a use for her English degree by guiding tours through the famous sites featured in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. By living life on the road and traveling New Zealand as a luxury tour guide, Allison manages to outrun the pain of her past she can’t face.

Jackson Gregory was on the cusp of making it big. Then suddenly his girlfriend left him—for his biggest business competitor—and took his most guarded commercial secrets with her. To make matters worse, the Iowa farm that has been in his family for generations is facing foreclosure. Determined to save his parents from financial ruin, he’ll do whatever it takes to convince his wealthy great-uncle to invest in his next scheme, which means accompanying him to the bottom of the world to spend three weeks pretending to be a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan, even though he knows nothing about the stories. The one thing that stands between him and his goal is a know-it-all tour guide who can’t stand him and pegged him as a fake the moment he walked off the plane.

When Allison leads the group through the famous sites of the Tolkien movies, she and Jackson start to see each other differently, and as they keep getting thrown together on the tour, they find themselves drawn to each other. Neither expected to fall in love again, but can they find a way beyond their regrets to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?


Kara IsaacKara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two children.

Visit Kara on her WEBSITE and on FACEBOOK.