Review: Books by Deb Kemper

First, there will be no spoilers here. I know it’s fashionable to include them along with the obligatory spoiler alert. What can I say? I’m not fashionable.

Second, I did not read Deb Kemper’s books in the order they were published. It wasn’t necessary. They are stand-alone novels, though each contains more than enough potential story for sequels. So there are times reviewing isn’t always about a single book or series. Sometimes, it’s about an author’s body of works, individual pieces as well as the totality. Kemper is a flexible writer who ventures into more than one genre, more than one writing style.

For me, reading Kemper’s  Mallory Ridge  came after a long personal hiatus from reading almost anything classified as romance. Although I had plenty of reservations about opening the cover, I found myself quickly drawn into a contemporary later-in-life romance set partly in England and partly in Georgia. Written for the Christian market, Mallory Ridge contains religious perspectives, yet the overriding story of second chances and blending families is realistic and absorbing.

Scrolling forward in time, the next book I read was Full MacIntosh. In this, I realized what a flexible writer and thorough researcher Kemper is. Full MacIntosh has romantic aspects, but this is historical fiction. The milieu of 17th century Scotland comes alive in the details of daily life as well as historical incidents of the era.

Speaking of time, The Legend of Graeme Macpherson is a plunge into a speculative sub-genre, time-travel. Partly set in contemporary time, partly returning to Scotland of the 17th century, the tale is sumptuous in style and voices playing off each other as the legend unfolds.

But then, Kemper leaps into another genre. Lies and Old Lovers is contemporary blending mystery, family dynamics, and romance against the backdrop of modern Scottish politics.

Keeping Reggie’s Widow is a return to American fiction, this set in the beautiful Ozark country of Missouri. Family dynamics figure into this one, too, but an additional theme of anti-Semitism weaves throughout the book, inconspicuous at first but with increasing potency as the story progresses.

Kemper’s passion for Scotland shows in several novels but not exclusively so. Romance figures into all of her novels, but she is not exclusively a romance writer. Themes of second chances seem to run through most of her novels, especially the contemporary ones. She writes of family interactions, but not weighty multi-generational sagas; they are the intimate interplays of people at life’s crossroads who must still carry on with their daily lives.

Contemporary. Historical. Speculative. Mystery.
What genre and themes will Deb Kemper tackle next?

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