Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Bet by Darlene Panzera

America’s most beloved author Debbie Macomber opened her heart and turned a page in publishing history last winter when she empowered Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, to host the “Make Your Dreams Come True” writing contest, which would give one very special, prize-winning aspiring author the chance to break into publishing by having her cozy romance published alongside the classic Macomber novella, Family Affair, with a special re-issue that goes on-sale 6/26/12. Family Affair was first published as a novella in the Purrfect Love anthology more than a decade ago, and was released last year as a special holiday gift-sized hardcover. This new version is the only edition to include the prize-winning novella The Bet.

Macomber had selected Darlene’s novella, The Bet, from three finalists submitted to the author for review. The names were removed from the three manuscripts submitted to the bestselling writer—but here’s the kicker: Darlene Panzera is a local writer from Macomber’s own Washington State, who had been honing her craft for years. Both were members of the same Romance Writers of America chapter! “Darlene reminds me a lot of myself when I was attempting to get published many years ago,” relates Macomber, “eager and energetic, willing to sacrifice to pursue her dream. I am honored to have played a small part in her success.”

My thoughts...

What a delightful story! I enjoyed every minute of it, a quick read full of chuckles, suspense, and romance. Jenny dropped out of medical school to take over the ranch when her father died in a fire. Late on payments the bank sets a deadline and she has no way of paying it.

At a local cafe there is a lot of betting taking place, bets were placed on which of the men could get Jenny to marry him. Nick Chandler, a stranger in town, walks in and bets $10,000. Jenny happens to be in the cafe giving the men heck when she overhears the bet and is fit to be tied. Returning home her uncle introduces her to their new ranch manager, Nick Chandler!

I won't give anything else away but the sparks fly and it isn't always for the good. A well written, fun story with great characters that will keep you turning the pages and not wanting to see the end. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

A graduate of the Writer's Digest Advanced Novel Writing School and The Christian Writer's Guild apprentice program, Darlene is an active member of Romance Writers of America's Greater Seattle and Peninsula Chapters. She's attended numerous conferences and classes, served five years on the board of RWA's Peninsula Chapter and in 2011 served as chapter president.

Darlene is the winner of the "Make Your Dreams Come True" contest sponsored by Avon Books which led her novella, THE BET, to be published with Debbie Macomber's FAMILY AFFAIR released June 2012. She received a second contract with Avon Books, a division of HarperCollins, for the full length manuscript of THE BET, and is currently working on her next novel.

She's also published several short stories and A Look of Love was a top finalist for Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards Contest.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Darlene now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three children. When not writing, she enjoys camping, hiking, photography, horseback riding, crafts, music, and lazy days at the lake.

Find Darlene at her website, You can also connect with Darlene on Facebook and Twitter.


trish said...

I admit, I do love it when two characters clash! So glad you loved the story, and I can see why the publisher is having the author lengthen it to a novel.

Thanks for being on the tour!

Darlene Panzera said...

Dear Joyanne,
Thank you so much for your warm, wonderful review! I really appreciate it. The full length version of THE BET is coming out as an ebook Dec. 4th and is being retitled, BET YOU'LL MARRY ME. I'm really excited. Again, thanks for having me on your blog!