by Delia Latham
Kylie's Kiss is the second book in Delia Latham's "Solomon's Gate" series, which began with the founding of the dating agency Solomon's Gate in Destiny's Dream. This second installment is a real page-turner. The characters are intriguing, with Kylie Matthews particularly providing something beyond the one-dimensional personality that too often defines the protagonist in a romance novel. There are some nuances about Kylie's person that are troubling, and a real issue to be dealt with revolving around the distorted self-images with which too many young women struggle today. Living in a society that is flooded with negative messages concerning some supposed ideal of perfect female beauty, many women buy into the lies that the media, our families, and society at large feed us, often with disastrous effects.
Kylie is just one such woman. Her problem is an extreme instance of the phenomenon, but it is at heart something nearly anyone brought up today can sympathize with on some level. In Kylie's Kiss, the problem of buying into the lie is foregrounded, showing the various ways that the resulting distorted self-image can do real damage to all of the relationships we seek to engage in. Kylie's Kiss seems like the perfect antidote to the sort of vampiric relationships idealized in popular young adult fiction today, where literal vampires also function as metaphoric vampires preying on the neediness and insecurities of young girls to gain control of them. This novel offers an alternative, calling young women to a more realistic view of the definition of beauty, their own persons, and the sort of healthy relationships young women should aim for in dealing with both the men and women in their lives.
Kylie's Kiss takes the romance novel a step or two beyond being merely good entertainment and deals with an issue that seems to be of real concern to contemporary culture. The ideal held up in the book runs counter to the so-called wisdom of the day, and that seems to me to be a very good thing.
Reviewed by Shelly Bryant © 2012