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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Conflicts of Interest by Diane Kessler is an engrossing novel about taking chances and making life-altering decisions. Meet the main character Claire Petersen, a lobbyist from Boston who has lost a big client, but it may just be a blessing in disguise because it leads her to cross paths with a widower named Richard. Both have a client interested in a piece of farmland, so a conflict develops, but also romantic interest on Richard's part. But since Claire has been let down before by men, including her father, the question is, does she let herself fall for Richard or play it safe and keep her distance? She has some soul-searching to do and some decisions to make about her life, but will she make the right ones?
Right away you become invested in Kessler's novel. I like her simple, straightforward approach to plot building and character development. The conflicts are real-world, and you will care about the choices Claire makes. You'll even care which client ends up with the farmland. The dialogue is believable, and the storyline is convincing. It could easily be a Hallmark or Lifetime movie. I enjoyed the way Claire's character grows and develops over time and the backstory that underpins her motivations and reservations. Her job is interesting too, which sets up conflicts that challenge her, so the novel is aptly titled. The conflicts are external as well as internal, and you find yourself placing yourself in her shoes. Kessler's style is clear and direct, and I like the greedy land developer versus environmentalist angle. I also like the way the author works in little details from her grandmother and her Uncle Erich. Conflicts of Interest by Diane Kessler is a mature novel with interesting drama and romance.