Recaptured Dreams by Justine Dell: Review and Interview

Today I welcome JUSTINE DELL to the blog. She’s author of two romance novels: Recaptured Dreams and All-American Girl. Here’s my review of Recaptured Dreams, and stick around for an interview with Justine!

Recaptured DreamsRecaptured Dreams by Justine Dell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Past Love Recaptured

Justine Dell’s debut contemporary romance has a regal, formal air about it, making the novel feel not so contemporary. It’s a romance between the lovely English lass Sophia and the dashing fashion designer Xavier.

Most of the story occurs “across the pond” in England’s upper-class circles, where Sophia Montel lives with her mother. Sophia is twenty-seven and lives a somewhat aimless existence following a horrible car crash that stole her memories ten years ago. Her mother refuses to tell her about her past, which greatly frustrates Sophia (as well as me!) Sophia’s good friend Anne Marie takes her to a fashion show featuring Sophia’s favorite designer.

American Xavier Cain has ascended from humble roots to worldwide success with his “XS” fashion line. Yet his life is incomplete without the woman he fell in love with at age seventeen who has since gone missing. When he spots Sophia at the show, his mission to find his lost love is now complete! There she is!

The bad news: Sophia doesn’t remember him.

The good news: Sophia feels a strange attraction to him.

Sophia and Xavier slowly rekindle their love despite obstacles thrown their way by her mother and snooty grandmother. Then the lovers manage to get in their own way by running off or acting incomprehensibly.

When Anne Marie talks to Sophia about why she isn’t directly asking Xavier about their past, I cheered when she asked “Here’s a thought, darling; why don’t you ask him about it?” Why, indeed?

The reason for the mystery and misunderstanding later reveals itself, which blew me away and helped dissolve my frustration.

I really enjoyed the character of Xavier and his fashion creations (reminding me of a favorite TV show . . . Project Runway!) I believe that earlier revelations may have drawn me into Sophia’s struggle more deeply. Without understanding her motivation at times, I grew frustrated by her choices. I still haven’t decided how I feel about Sophia’s mother. I’m not sure I buy her explanation for why she acted the way she did.

With a flow of melancholy, Recaptured Dreams is a well-written story about recapturing lost love.

View all my reviews

Jennifer Lane (JL): Welcome, Justine! I’m excited to feature an Omnific Publishing pub-sister on the blog.
Justine Dell (JD): And I’m super excited to be pub-sister (love that name!) and part of the Omnific family! 
JL: Congratulations on your recent release of All-American Girl. How would you compare All-American Girl to Recaptured Dreams? Similar themes? Different settings?
JD: They have similar themes, yes, but different settings. I love, LOVE stories about two people reconnecting. There’s something so pure about a man and a woman getting back together after years apart only to discover they are perfect for each other. The settings are way different. Recaptured Dreams might feel like it’s historical to some because it’s mainly set in London, and has things that gives it an “old world” feel. All-American Girl is much more contemporary and set in a way that the reader could feel like they are reading about their neighbor or friend. 
JL: How did you get involved in writing?
JD: Well, I’ve always been a good “story-teller”, but never really grasped the “writing” part. I’m not an English major and I have zero background in writing, but I just loved to tell stories. One day someone told me I should write. I shook off that thought and continued thinking it would be awesome to do, but also thinking I could never pull it off. Then I watched a wildly popular movie based off a wildly popular book and I thought, “Hey, if a regular mom could do that, why can’t I?” So then I did. The rest is history, I guess. 🙂 
JL: I’m a big fan of the TV show Project Runway, and I loved that Xavier (the hero in Recaptured Dreams) is a fashion designer. (And surprise…he’s straight!) What made you choose this career for him?
JD: I choose that career for him because he was straight! I like creating characters that aren’t what people think they should be. In Recaptured Dreams, that’s the straight and hot hero, Lance. In All-American girl, it’s the hot-mess Sam. 
JL: Sophia’s amnesia following a horrific car accident was quite interesting. How did you develop this aspect of the storyline? (Inspiration? Research?)
JD: The plot came first and I knew to pull it off, Sophia would need some sort of memory issue. Amnesia to the rescue. In the first draft, though, I hadn’t fleshed it out enough and had to do some research to make it honest and believable. Amnesia is sort of a romance “cliche” and I worried about it, but I hope the spin I put on her’s separates it from the pack. 
JL: What are some of your favorite novels?
JD: I don’t have any favorite novels, just authors (and I gobble up all of their books!) Lora Leigh, Nora Roberts and Sylvia Day are probably my favorite three. 

Justine lives in the Midwest, happily catering to her family, which consists of a horse-obsessed teenage daughter, four dogs, and a husband who is too good to be true. She’s never moved from her hometown, but hopes to grow old in a much warmer climate.

During the day she works a normal job with college students who try their best to keep her young. They’ve done a good job thus far. At night, said teenage daughter and her horse require mounds of love and attention. The weekends belong solely to her and her writing. That’s when she morphs into a sticky bug, unable to leave the confines of her computer chair.

She started writing four years ago after seeing a movie that set off a chain reaction she couldn’t have stopped if she’d wanted. It’s not a hobby for her; it’s an obsession. One she loves and one she loves to share.

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