Victoria Dahl is a great writer. She can write historical. She can write contemporary. She can do it all.
There was so much to love in this book that I...moreVictoria Dahl is a great writer. She can write historical. She can write contemporary. She can do it all.
There was so much to love in this book that I'm not sure why it took me so long to read it, but it took a few tries. In the end, I loved the hero, the heroine, and all the quirky townspeople. And I learned some tricks of the trade from reading this novel as well.
I didn't love it as much as her historicals, but that may be a personal bias. I tend not to love small town romances and I especially tend not to like any book about a writer. :P
However, if you love hot and funny small town romance, this is the book for you!(less)
This little story is the best Regency Romance I've read this year. Don't let the adorable back cover copy fool you. This is a serious, heartfelt, emot...moreThis little story is the best Regency Romance I've read this year. Don't let the adorable back cover copy fool you. This is a serious, heartfelt, emotionally wrenching story that had me near tears several times. It was as sweet and genuine as the hero himself. And this is to say nothing of the prose which, frankly, blew me away. Sabrina Darby writes beautifully. Her language is a delight to read aloud--which I did, at several points. I left this story both moved and grinning ear to ear.(less)
You know, the prose in this book was lovely. The situation was fresh and unusual. There isn't any reason that I shouldn't have loved this book more th...moreYou know, the prose in this book was lovely. The situation was fresh and unusual. There isn't any reason that I shouldn't have loved this book more than I did. For whatever reason, it just didn't have that spark of magic in it for me. I suspect it was simply that the hero didn't seduce me. I would definitely read more by this author, however.(less)
This book had three strikes against it before I even opened the front cover.
First, there is the ridiculously wholesome looking couple on the cover. Nex...moreThis book had three strikes against it before I even opened the front cover.
First, there is the ridiculously wholesome looking couple on the cover. Next, there's the backwater town in the background. Finally, there's the back blurb promising a love story surrounded by a kid.
It's all standard hearth-and-home American Romance line fare. All the stuff that makes me teeth hurt and ruins my romantic mood. However, there was a special twist to this one that drew me in. Instead of the usual secret baby plot, or the deadbeat dead who has come back to town to mend his ways and win back his family...we have here, A DEADBEAT MOM.
Pammy Jo is a heroine who is very hard to love. Having abandoned her husband and baby when she was still a young girl, she's proceeded to make an utter train wreck of her life. Coming back to town to make peace with her dead abusive mother, she's holding it together with duct tape and bailing wire. She's poor. She has no job prospects. She's an alcoholic. She's got walls up all around her that nobody can get past. And while she still loves--and is attracted to--her ex-husband, the father of her child, she has the maternal instincts of a sea turtle.
Her ex-husband Nick, by contrast, is a beta hero that any woman would love. He's a hard-working protective father who has years worth of fury built up against his wife for walking out on him and their daughter. He has a difficult family and he harbors a lot of guilt wondering if he is the one who drove Pammy Jo away. But he manages to get past all of these emotions to love Pammy Jo.
Why he loves this disaster of a woman is never very clear. What is entirely clear is that he's a traditional guy who wants to put his family back together. He has sweet and nostalgic memories of Pammy Jo from their teen years. His ability to overlook everything else as part of his quest to get Pammy Jo back and put their life together is entirely understandable, even if it is dysfunctional.
And that's what made this book very special to me. These characters are very flawed. But they're tremendously real. These are not the cardboard cutout characters of Romancelandia. These are people you and I might know, having done all the foolish things people do, working their way back together with a minimum of drama after having accepted some of the realities of life.
The requisite colorful characters in the small town are fun but their stage presence is kept to a minimum, which I appreciated. The daughter was the sanest person in the book and realistically written. The plot line was entirely straightforward and left you rooting for these folks to get a happy ending.
Now, for the writing. It was a surprise and a delight. The narrative voice was more engaging and mature than I've seen in a category romance in a long time. My urge to skip past "the boring parts" was minimized by an attention grabbing style.
I've never read anything by Tanya Michaels before, but I will definitely be looking out for her work in the future.(less)
This was a very well-written fast-paced romance that charmed me. Duarte was a very appealing nice-guy hero in spite of his humorlessness. He is just v...moreThis was a very well-written fast-paced romance that charmed me. Duarte was a very appealing nice-guy hero in spite of his humorlessness. He is just very earnest and he has a great deal of pain in his past for a Prince. He was never a jerk.
Our heroine was also delightfully modern, neither overly spunky nor a doormat. Their desires were honest. Their love was convincing. I was very satisfied by this short little book.(less)