My book review of this recent Leigh Smith novel is a bit tardy only because of the holiday craziness most of us embrace as part of the Christmas/New Year season. Lovely fun, food, and family for the most part - but little time for books I enjoy reading and posts I enjoy writing. Leigh is one of my favorite authors when it comes to cowboy spanking stories, so I was curious as to whether I would like Loving His China Doll since it was cowboy-free, so to speak. Never fear, Sunny has again delivered a spanking good book.
Title: Loving His China Doll
Author: Leigh Smith
Number of Pages: 131
Themes: Living Green, Overcoming Life's Challenges,
Loving and Letting Go
Setting: Willamette Valley in Oregon
- Chyna Minton - a 26 year old woman who lives alone on her family's farm despite a unique handicap.
- Benji - her devoted St. Bernard and constant companion. He may not be your run of the mill main character, but his presence is felt all through this unusual story.
- Jeff Kincaid - a young farmer in search of his own land and a place to plant his dream.
- Paul and Sue Kincaid - Jeff's surly older brother and pregnant sister-in-law.
- Blake and Marge Kincaid - Jeff's parents who have worked a large family farm since Jeff was a boy.
- Ben Wilson - Chyna's lawyer and advocate.
- Becky Taylor - a close friend of Chyna's.
When farmer, Jeff Kincaid, rolls into Scottsville, Oregon, he is only looking for some vacant farmland to lease. He pulls into the drive of a pretty little farmhouse and meets Chyna Minton and her big St. Bernard, Benji. The book is written with the alternating points of view of these 2 main characters, and that is very important to this plot. The reader knows fairly quickly that Chyna suffers from a condition called "hysterical blindness" caused by a childhood trauma. She also possesses a "second sight" that gives her an inkling that meeting Jeff that morning will become a turning point in both their lives. This combination of handicap and giftedness is unique to this heroine. Jeff discovers what we already know through keen observation.
For this review, I think it is important to discuss the role of Chyna's
dog, Benji. This big, lovable, and protective animal is the cornerstone of Chyna's support system in the small town of Scottsville. Yes, there are friends and neighbors who check on her and help in so many ways, but it is Benji who makes it possible for Chyna to live independently and feel happy and secure.
Once Jeff is cleared by Chyna's lawyer, they cut a deal to lease the empty fields, and he also moves into a small apartment at the back of the barn. He is very motivated to get started on his plans for farming organic crops and selling to local buyers. Back on Jeff's family farm, his brother, Paul, has always been domineering and negative about Jeff's dream.
Jeff is an interesting central figure for a spanking novel. As you well know, I am quite partial to cowboys. But I have to admit that Jeff being a farmer adds another layer of depth and complexity to his character. His is also the vehicle through which a lot of the themes of ecology and an organic approach to farming and health
are developed. Chyna, too, is very in tune with the earth, and the two complement each other in this "green" outlook on life. After plowing one day, the author tells us about Jeff's satisfaction, "There was something about seeing the rows of tilled soil behind him that fed his soul."
Jeff and Chyna get to know each other better every day, and Jeff soon recognizes the blindness. There is a mutual physical attraction between the two, as well, and Chyna is anxious for a romantic relationship - the first for her. She also suspects that several of Jeff's comments indicate some "Christian Grey" leanings.
She is not displeased one bit, and the sex is everything for which she hoped. Jeff is quickly becoming involved with her, and very protective, too. He enjoys everything about her. "He loved her laugh; it sounded like bells tinkling." I noticed that the author has done an admirable job using descriptions that depend on other senses besides sight. Considering Chyna's handicap, I thought this was quite effective.
When Jeff introduces Chyna to his mom and dad, the family dynamic is introduced. Since Chyna has no family, she loves that Marge and Blake make her feel so welcome. Very soon after this first meeting, Jeff is called home to be there during an emergency with his father's health, and here the plot really starts to tumble. We see how Jeff's brother, Paul, was behind Jeff's plans to strike off on his own. The two brothers come together just enough to work through some big changes on the family farm.
In the midst of this upheaval, Chyna reveals a crack in her acceptance of the blindness she has lived with since she was 11 years old. Realizing how her relationship with Jeff is moving toward a serious and permanent status, she doubts her ability to be a real partner to Jeff and a contributing farmer's wife. She pulls away from him completely. Once Jeff sorts out things on his family's farm, he is back to Scottsville and Chyna like a shot.
Chyna's decision to seek professional help with her condition, has her exploring hypnotherapy. Since this is a treatment that I am familiar with through my work at a medical facility, I was most interested to see how Sunny used it in a fictional story. She was spot on! Purposely I have not given away any of the important mini-stories within this book, including the one that explains the title, Loving His China Doll. Just let your fingers trot on over to LSF Publications or Amazon and download this book. Then build a cozy fire, brew a pot of coffee, and dig right in.
As I said, this plot has a lot of threads, but Sunny pulls them all together for the reader at the end. It is only natural that it is a great spanking that seems to be both the transformational ending of this story and the start of a new one for Jeff and Chyna.