Charmer In Chaps by Julia London is a heartwarming novel.
This relationship story emphasizes the need for a little more
acceptance in society today, as both the main female and male
characters struggle with handicaps.
explored many issues in this book from dyslexia to ecology
to foster care. I thought how hard it would be for someone
who could not read as an adult. I would think they would not
be able to talk about their problem. Regarding foster care,
I have some experience with my extended family. As with Ella,
my family had children put in foster care because of drug
problems. Here in Texas, meth is a big problem, and foster
care is exploding. While I was researching this book, I found
out that children were sleeping in the foster care offices
because there was nowhere for them to go."
Another critical issue is the survival of Texas ranches. "I
am interested in how ranches in Texas are going in that direction
because it is so cost prohibitive. The cattle industry and
farming is hard. Some have turned the land back into an oasis.
I am personally interested in that and thought it a good interest
for Luca. Today, people are trying different ecological approaches
instead of mass production, which has basically killed family
farming. There is also the issue that happened here after
the hurricane. Not only horses, but cattle became feral. Those
big ranches sometimes cannot find their livestock. I thought
it interesting that there are now wild Mustangs running around
Luca Prince has grown up without a care in the world or so
it seems. He is part of Texas' high society where his family
is regarded as one of the wealthiest in the state. Contrast
that with Ella Kendall, who is working two jobs and struggling
to make ends meet. They have grown up in different worlds:
the haves and the have-nots. Currently, Ella has exactly three
things to her name: a dog, a pig, and the rundown house she
just inherited from her grandmother. A chance meeting brings
Luca and Ella together, but he has no idea she was a high
school classmate of his who had a deep crush. Wanting to get
to know her more, he decides to help her repair the house.
But she knows him as a flirting womanizer cowboy. Having lived
in foster homes all her life, she has built walls and barriers
to hide her feelings and emotions. What makes the story so
enduring is watching how both must overcome life's challenges,
open up their hearts, and begin to trust each other.
London stated, "Who didn't have a crush in high school?
Most everyone can relate. Remember how we covered our books
with the brown paper grocery bags? A lot of people wrote on
those covers about what they fantasized. Then later in life,
they would dream of running into that person they had a crush
on. I had my character Ella go from being on the fringe to
having found herself. She is a loner who is trying to find
her way. She is framing her own path slowly and methodically
without having any real foundation in her life. She is practical,
quiet, responsible, and is very guarded. I had this quote
of how she has built a ‘border wall that is 30 feet
This was an uplifting story where readers root for the likable
characters to overcome their handicaps. An added bonus is
London's trademark witty character banter.