Leave a Mark by Stephanie Fournet

Leave a Mark

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Opposites attract when a troubled tattoo artist lands in a medical resident’s ER in this contemporary romance novel.

Dr. Leland “Lee” Hawthorne, 31, and Wren Blanchard, 25, live near each other in Lafayette, Louisiana, yet they’re worlds apart. He’s finishing his charity hospital residency, and his doctor father, stepmother, and live-in decorator girlfriend, Marcelle, all hope that he’ll transition to a lucrative private practice. She’s a tattoo artist haunted by the fact that she was sexually abused at age 6 by her now-deceased addict mother’s boyfriend. The unlikely couple meet when Wren collapses at her tattoo parlor job with a ruptured cyst and Lee attends to her in the ER. He’s impressed by Wren’s sassy remarks and amazing body art; she’s wary but drawn to his kindness and bright-blue eyes. When Lee later spots Wren waiting for a ride from the hospital, he drives her home. They discover they live near each other and that they both lost their mothers and love fried peach pies. Wren later brings some pies to Lee’s house but runs into Marcelle, so she leaves, hurt that he never mentioned his current relationship during their flickering flirtation. Lee soon breaks things off with bad-fit Marcelle to pursue Wren. The two enjoy amazing sex, but later, Wren’s agony about her past reaches a breaking point, and it’s only further aggravated by Lee’s relatives’ looking askance at her tattoos. By novel’s end, however, Lee stages an intervention to put Wren’s demons to rest. Lafayette resident Fournet (Butterfly Ginger, 2015, etc.) delivers another beautifully drawn novel set among her city’s “Saint Streets,” with particularly lovely shadings of description. Wren’s tattoos are gorgeously detailed, and Lee’s attraction to them—and to the artistic, sensitive heroine—is both understandable and believable. Indeed, Fournet’s celebration of tattoo artistry is the narrative’s most compelling element. That said, the couple’s sex scenes and other romantic interludes, such as bonding over a puppy or going kayaking, are similar to those found in more routine romances. Still, Fournet competently crafts these necessary connecting scenes and weaves in the abuse back story in an appropriate manner. Overall, it’s an engaging effort that lives up to its title.

A touching and striking modern love story.

Pub Date: April 28th, 2016
Page count: 330pp
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2016


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