‘Jane Doe’ by Lisa Girolami

Jane Doe (Bold Strokes Books) is Lisa Girolami’s fourth book. Girolami introduces Royal Wooten, Las Vegas pawn shop owner. As she leaves her shop one evening, she sees three men mugging someone. She and an employee come to the victim’s rescue, scaring off the muggers. They find a woman who is seriously injured and requires hospitalization. However, since Royal knows nothing about her, the woman is designated a Jane Doe.

When Jane recovers her memory, she tells Royal that she is really Emily Carver, and lives in a small Oklahoma town. She won a free trip to Las Vegas playing bingo, but her family didn’t want her to leave town, even for a few days. She’d made the trip despite the objections of her fiancé, who predicted dire consequences. She’d only been in Vegas a few hours when she was mugged.

When Jane is discharged from the hospital, she has nowhere to go, no money, no airline ticket home, no credit cards, etc. Royal feels sorry for her and invites the woman to stay with her until she is able to return to Oklahoma.

Girolami has written the story of Jane’s journey to herself. Jane finds that being away from her home town is very freeing. Royal, too, has a journey to make in order to trust herself enough to love again after a disastrous relationship with a straight woman.

This is one of those quiet books that ends up getting under your skin. There is no torrid romance, there is no sex on every other page. This is, however, the story of two strangers becoming friends and acknowledging they are attracted to one another, and then admitting they love one another despite everything saying that it shouldn’t happen.

Girolami’s characters, even the secondary characters like Royal’s older employee Heinrich and her best friend Delilah, are likable. Girolami also has placed two villains in the story—Nann, who has a crush on Royal; and Charles, Jane’s fiancé—that give the story an added jolt. There are many  twists and turns along the way that give the reader insight into both main characters.

The story flowed with the ease of a slow-moving river. There was nothing to take the reader out of the story. All in all a well-written story with an unusual setting, and well worth the read.

Jane Doe
by Lisa Girolami
Bold Strokes Books
Paperback, 9781602822177, 192 pp.
April 2011