In this lighthearted romance, cowboy Bobby Gray Nelson sets out to win the heart of veterinarian Kelli Palmer, a woman with distant ties to royalty and a strong sense of family. Her loyalty to her sister Lori is the wedge that drives these two apart, as Kelli's sister had the dubious privilege of going out with him first. With a motley band of sick animals in tow, however, Bobby Gray is determined to succeed in the end.
This story falls under a category I call "fluff": a quick read that is mild in nature and aims for easy entertainment. Bobby Gray's antics are amusing, and Kelli's relationship with her parents and her sisters is heartwarming. Carmichael's writing style is in keeping with this mood, creating an easygoing atmosphere in which the story could take place. The characters felt a bit like cardboard cut-outs, however, falling neatly into certain personality types with limited latitude for individualization.
The quick development of the relationship between the two was confusing, as was Kelli's resistance to Bobby Gray's advances. Perhaps I had a difficult time with the latter as the original source of conflict seemed forced. Lori's gripe against the budding relationship was tenuous at best, and her behavior was more comic than it was realistic. The final denouement had me groaning with disbelief, given the interactions between each of the characters up to that point. Perhaps a great deal of this was due to the brevity of the read. More development would have benefited the story significantly.
In spite of its classification under "women's fiction", Kissing Kelli is the sort of romantic comedy that I would recommend for readers who are just shy of the young adult designation. It's G-rated entertainment that the romantics among the tweens can enjoy.
(Review copy provided by the author)