Red Leather Reunion (Class of ‘85 Reunion Series)
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Pages: 36
Goes Well With: Coffee and vanilla cream donuts

Though it’s been years since I ventured out to a high school reunion of my own, I just can’t seem to get enough of The Wild Rose Press’s Class of ’85 Reunion series. The stories may be lunch break length, but the authors usually manage to fit just the right amount of drama and romance in these class reunion fairy tales. Unfortunately, though, author Karen Bostrom’s contribution to the series, Red Leather Reunion, is disappointingly short on both.

In high school, Ron Granger and Jane Hunter were the best of friends—the smartest, shiest kids in school. Back then, Ron was madly in love with Jane—but, before he got up the nerve to tell her, she married their mutual friend, star baseball pitcher Cliff DeWitt.

At their five-year class reunion, Jane made a scene when she finally confronted her cheating husband. Now, twenty years later, she’s returned to Summerville for another reunion—but instead of a fat, frumpy housewife, she’s now a gorgeous TV reporter in a stunning red leather dress.

Ron is thrilled to see Jane again—and he hopes that he’ll finally have a chance to tell her how he’s always felt about her. But trouble could be brewing with her bitter ex.

At just 36 pages long, Red Leather Reunion is a super-short read—and the story suffers because of it. Instead of giving the characters and their history just a little bit of development, Bostrom chose to jump right in, beginning the story when the reunion is already under way. And, for that reason, readers might feel as though they’ve been thrown into the middle of something—and they’ll struggle to get a feel for the characters.

With such minimal development, none of the characters seem especially likeable. Of course, it’s no surprise that Cliff isn’t portrayed in the best light. After all, he’s a drunk and a womanizer who cheated on his young wife all those years ago. But it’s hard to understand why he’s still holding on to the bitterness twenty years later. The same goes for Jane, who still seems bitter, despite her icy-cold demeanor. Ron, meanwhile, still seems like an awkward high school nerd, making over-eager passes at his old friend.

The story, too, suffers from the lack of development. The drama and romance both seem forced, and the conflict feels weak. And, in the end, Red Leather Reunion simply leaves too many unanswered questions, making it an awkward and unconvincing entry in an otherwise strong series.

Ed. Note: For more on Red Leather Reunion, visit The Wild Rose Press.

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