Welcome to Pump Up Your Book’s Virtual Book Tour for It’s Simple
Chase Daniels and Tia Madisson dated in high school, but their friendship was always most important to them and remained strong throughout their college years. Now they have both graduated and embarked upon high-powered careers. Chase was the Los Angeles Lakers’ number one draft pick in 2008, while Tia has joined the newly formed Obama administration and will be working in the White House. As Chase enjoys an extremely lucrative and successful year with the Lakers, Tia is relocating to a new condominium in Maryland.
So it is not a particularly convenient time for Chase and Tia to conclude that they are not just the best of friends. They are also in love and want very much to be together. But how can a bi-coastal relationship ever work?
They are determined, however, to overcome the various obstacles and be a couple. After all, they are highly motivated, intelligent, and determined, so they can achieve any goal they set for themselves. They love each other madly. So it’s simple. Isn’t it?
First-time author Michelle Richardson is a life coach and her desire to assist folks who are struggling to balance their personal and professional lives is evident in It’s Simple — she wraps up nearly every chapter with commentary about the dilemma her characters are facing, sharing observations and offering suggested life strategies.
Placing fictional characters in the midst of actual events or circumstances where they interact with real-life public figures is a risky proposition for the most seasoned novelist. But that’s exactly Richardson’s bold approach in It’s Simple. Chase Daniels is enjoying an enormously successful rookie year playing for the Lakers where he interacts with teammates Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odum, among others, as well as renowned coach Phil Jackson. Meanwhile, Tia Maddison assumes a prestigious position within the Obama administration — after attending the Inaugural festivities, of course, and being photographed for People magazine on Chase’s arm — where she is on a first-name basis with both the President and First Lady. The results are uneven. Some of the situations and dialogue ring true, but discerning readers will have a hard time believing that, for instance, the leader of the free world can really afford to spend time worrying about an intern’s workplace crush on a member of his staff or that members of the World Champion Lakers actually engage in the kind of locker room hijinks just before critical games that Richardson depicts.
Their relationship progressed from a friendship to something more over time. That friendship is the foundation of their relationship and the key.~ Author Michelle Richardson
Still, her two main characters are hard-working, devoted to their careers, family, and each other, and earnest. That their love for each other is never in question makes them likable and readers will want them to find a way to balance all of their responsibilities so that their relationship can survive and flourish. Richardson further endears them to readers by illustrating their relationship’s rock-solid foundation — they remind each other frequently that they spent many years being the best of friends; they trust each other implicitly and are thoroughly loyal. From the outset, it is clear that they are destined for matrimony, but the overriding issue quickly becomes the fact that their professional obligations require them to be based on opposite sides of the country. They pine for and miss each other as soon as they are again parted, all of which is, given their ages, quite authentic and believable.
Richardson might have elicited more empathy from readers by creating characters who were less accomplished with fewer resources at their disposal. It is difficult to feel much sympathy for characters who can comfortably afford to fly first-class to each other every time they a couple of days free, staying in luxury hotels and planning lavish vacations. Readers with high-pressure careers of their own, especially those more mature than Richardson’s mid-twenty-something protagonists, will likely have trouble relating to Chase and Tia’s desperation to be together all the time, especially considering that the professional opportunities they have been given happen just once in a lifetime. Chase has dreamed all of his life of being a Laker, but is suddenly determined to arrange to be traded to the Washington Wizards to be near Tia, even as the Lakers up the ante to keep him with the team as their new franchise player. Meanwhile, she is finishing her law degree at night in addition to working at the White House (another highly implausible scenario).
Through the devoted couple, Richardson explores relationships within the context of individuality, appropriate boundaries, and how to keep romance alive after making a commitment to one’s partner in a thought-provoking, interesting manner. Her supporting characters, including the young couple’s supportive immediate family members, as well as their high school and college friends, provide additional interest as Richardson portrays those individuals’ relationships in contrast to Chase and Tia’s.
Readers seeking a glimpse into the seemingly glamorous worlds of professional sports and politics will enjoy Richardson’s demonstration that, financial considerations aside, the rich and famous face the same struggles as average folks. It’s Simple is the first book in Richardson’s Experience Life from a Different Perspective series. She is currently at work on Never Said It Was Easy in which Chase and Tia’s story continues.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of It’s Simple free of charge from the author in conjunction with the Pump Up Your Book review and virtual book tour program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This disclosure complies with 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Enter to Win a Copy of It’s Simple
Author Michelle Richardson has generously provided one copy of It’s Simple to be awarded to a lucky Colloquium reader!
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