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“Two weeks ago, she was settled into her life: alone, but settled. Today, nothing made sense.” Meet Jill Allen, a forty-three year old, successful attorney with a prominent corporate law firm in Denver, who seems to have it all – she’s a partner in the firm, has a condo with a fancy address, and drives a BMW. The truth is she works eighty-hour weeks, suffers from insomnia, forgets to eat, and despite seemingly appealing offers from eligible lesbians, is alone. Or was, until two weeks ago, when Caroline Prince re-entered her life. This is the premise of One Fine Day, a smart and engaging stand-alone romance and the third book from Erica Abbott, author of the Alex & CJ series.
Caroline Prince, hailed as the finest soprano of this generation, has decided after nearly twenty years on the international opera circuit to settle down. Taking a job as the Artistic Director of the Rocky Mountain Opera Company [RMO] in Denver, her plans might involve rekindling a relationship with a certain Denver attorney.
A complex and mature romance where everyone has a bit of history, One Fine Day intersects professions of corporate law and the world of opera, while commenting on the impact of homophobia in both. Abbott’s characters are vivid. Most are smart, well-rounded, interesting, and often funny, like Caroline’s assistant, Arthur, or Jill’s mentor, Walter. Even the annoying and incompetent colleagues or an arrogant singer are well drawn. Jill and Caroline are interesting, intelligent, talented and highly successful women who provide insights into their professions.
Through Caroline’s work we see some of the day-to-day administration of a successful opera company and her surprisingly grounded approach to soothing feathers and balancing priorities. The difficult-to-define elements of the art are also present. While auditioning one of the students from the company’s school, Caroline reflects, “Anna was better than ninety-eight percent of the singers of the world, but she would always be second tier, not quite good enough. She lacked that elusive quality that made the audience want to look at her, to listen to her. She would never command a stage… “
In the politics at Worthington & Steele, where Jill is a partner, we see the complex machinations of a very large, successful law firm. Jill’s representation of the RMO provides a peek at the poker game of legal disputes while illuminating a fairly esoteric aspect of real estate law.
The Denver setting in One Fine Day has a rich flavor and varied texture, from the 17th Street law firms to the quirky historic neighborhoods, from prominent restaurants to the influence of sports teams and of course, the Rockies. “There were days [Jill] didn’t really notice the beauty of the panorama, for like all Colorado natives she often took the mountains for granted. But they were always there waiting for an appreciative look.”
Music fills the book. Like the setting, One Fine Day’s soundtrack is an important part of the story. Caroline and Jill are musicians and music is one of their modes their communication.As when Jill plays the piano, “Anyone could play the notes, but somehow Jill always played the pauses, too, shaping the spaces between the notes in a way that left Caroline full of longing.”
One Fine Day is an absolute pleasure to read, with deftly drawn setting and characters, a very steamy romance, and legal intrigues, all with a lovely lyrical soundtrack. If brainy is the new sexy then Abbott crafted a very sexy romance in One Fine Day.
One Fine Day
by Erica Abbott
Paperback, 9781594933158, 206 pp.