Book Review: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley


One time a boy kissed me and I almost died…

And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a 28-year-old woman with a unique condition – she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating, near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become reclusive in her adulthood, living the past nine years in the confines of the Victorian house her unaffectionate mother deeded to her when she ran off with a wealthy businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world – and the people in it – she’s been hiding from.

One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son who believes he has untapped telekinetic powers, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off course, and how to be the dad – and man – he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee…

An untraditional but beautiful love story about the power and possibilities of the human heart.


The story of Jubilee Jenkins is one that I will undoubtedly recommend to those wanting a love story that seems set against all odds, yet somehow overcomes all its trials and tribulations. From dealing with an unheard-of allergy which isolates Jubilee from the rest of the world, to coming to terms with the death of her estranged mother, Colleen Oakley takes the reader on Jubilee’s emotional journey of growth and acceptance so that we truly understand just how important it is for her to open her arms to the world, both literally and symbolically.

The unexpected romance that blossoms between Jubilee and Eric is both heartwarming and heartbreaking; combined with the truly extraordinary connection between Jubilee and Eric’s grieving step-son, Aja, which only comes with a deep understanding of loneliness and grief, I turned each page praying that each character would tackle their personal situations and come to support and protect each other. Overall, the developing relationship between Jubilee and Eric shows that the beauty of love is not in its ease or simplicity, but in its strength and endurance.

The characters in Close Enough to Touch are ones I definitely won’t forget in a hurry! Aside from the main characters of Jubilee, Eric and Aja who I came to love, the addition of genuine but guilt-ridden friend Madison, potential future love interest Michael, and loveable librarian Louise really set the scene for Jubilee’s journey in expanding her world and accepting the love and support of those around her. Each character has their purpose and adds to the plot development as Jubilee attempts to overcome her agoraphobia, helping to both widen her restricted circle and to overcome her condition as each person makes an impact on her life.

Overall, Close Enough to Touch is a novel of love, loss and personal growth that will stick with me for life!

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