All About Charming Alice by J. Arlene Culiner

All About Charming Alice by J. Arlene Culiner
Romance in Blake’s Folly Book two
Publisher: Five Star Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (155 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Alice Treemont has given up hope of meeting the right man and falling in love. Living in depopulated Blake’s Folly, a quirky community of rusting cars, old trailers, clapboard shacks and thirsty weeds, she spends her time cooking vegetarian meals, rescuing unwanted dogs and protecting the most unloved creatures on earth: snakes. What man would share those interests? Certainly not Jace Constant whose life in Chicago includes elegant women, fine dining and contemporary art.

Jace has come to Nevada to research the new book he’s writing, but he won’t be staying; as far as he’s concerned, Blake’s Folly is hell on earth. He’s disgusted by desert dust on his fine Italian shoes, dog hair on his cashmere sweaters and by desert bleakness. As for snakes, he doesn’t only despise them: they terrify him.

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In need of some juicy romantic gossip, the other 52 residents of Blake’s Folly have decided Alice has been alone for long enough. The attraction between her and Jace is obvious to everyone, so why worry about essential differences? If you trust in love, solutions do appear. But don’t those solutions call for too many compromises, too much self-sacrifice?

This is a special book. I’ll explain why but first I want to say that I am not a writer nor could I ever be one. I respect and admire those who can write, especially books that leave an impact on me such as this one has. I enjoy reading and try to write honest reviews. I’ve been reading romance stories for thirty two years. I’ve read my share of series. It’s not often that I’m thrown for a loop like I was after reading “All About Charming Alice”. The reason I say all this is because the author, J. Arlene Culiner is truly brilliant in my opinion. Typically in a series an author develops a cast of characters and recycles them through out each book in the series, basically changing the hero and heroine and giving them their own story. Other authors often give previous leading characters a turn as a guest appearance throughout the series. Traditionally this makes readers enjoy a sense of community, a sense of family and home, especially when they’ve read the series in order. For those that read it out of sync, well, it can be a little challenging for a reader to connect with the characters but not impossible. In fact it’s highly doable in this novel. I imagine it’s challenging to write a series that can be read as a standalone yet, that is exactly what J. Arlene Culiner has perfected!

This is why All About Charming Alice is a special book. This series is not wrapped around the characters per se as much as it is focused on the location. The setting is in a deserted town called Blake’s Folly. The loop I referred to and that I was thrown by was, after I read book one, Desert Rose, I had expectations from past experiences how book two was going to be. There wasn’t a guest appearance by the leading characters from book one. In fact it’s as if it didn’t exist. At first I was disappointed that the characters are written in both books at around the same time period but then I realized that is the coolest idea in the whole world. That allows the books in the series to be truly read as a standalones yet be part of a series. It me took thirty two years to find a series like this. For me that sells the book right there. The unique writing style is ultimately why I’d recommend this book and series.

This is perhaps the longest review I’ve ever written but I have to share how the leading lady in All About Charming Alice was another highlight as to why this book should be read. I appreciate unique characteristics in heroines. Alice loves dogs and snakes. Yes, I said snakes. Trust me it’s hilarious.

The hero, Jace, was written as a perfect counterpart for Alice. I felt the chemistry and enjoyed his persistent positive attitude to win Alice’s heart.

The first few pages caught my interest and held it throughout the book as I steadily turned the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed the ups and down as they worked out the logistics of their relationships.

I sincerely recommend this story and hope people won’t pass on it because the heroine is a herpetologist. It was a great book! Now, if it was a spider specialist, then that’s an automatic pass. Ha, ha.


  1. Thank you so much, Mistflower. I’m so pleased to hear you enjoyed the book. I suppose I’ve always been fascinated by places, their history and how they change over the years. For me, the community of Blake’s Folly is particularly interesting because although it is now a semi-ghost town, it was once, back in the late 1800s, a boomtown. But it’s not only the history of places and how they change that is so interesting: out-of-the-way, forgotten communities do tend to attract unusual people — rebels, losers, real originals, and thinkers. Being able to write about such people is what inspires me. Thank you again.

  2. mistflower says

    I genuinely loved All about Charming Alice. I forgot to mention how I loved the rescue dog theme with Alice. That characteristic made Alice even more endearing to me since I love dogs. I am lucky that I got to read both Desert Storm and All about Charming Alice. I hope others will consider reading them too.

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