2009, Series Romance
Harl Superromance #1582, $5.50, 245 pages, Amazon ASIN 037371582X
I love unique settings and the fictional island of Mirabelle is brought to life so successfully that it almost seemed like an additional character in First Come Twins. More importantly, the book features a likeable and realistic tortured hero and a troubled heroine. It is the best category romance I’ve read this year.
Fifteen years ago, teenaged Noah Bennett and Sophie Rousseau couldn’t keep their hands off each other, escaping whenever they could to be together. However, when Noah asked Sophie to marry him and leave Mirabelle, she refused. Noah left Sophie and the island without saying goodbye and never returned. Within months, Sophie married Noah’s brother, eventually having twins.
Skip ahead 15 years, and Sophie runs the Inn on Mirabelle and lives there with her 14-year old children. Her husband died two years earlier, and her life revolves around the Inn and her children. Noah has had virtually no contact with his family, and still believes that his brother is alive and happily married. Noah succeeded in his dream to become a photojournalist, and has spent the last 15 years moving from one war-torn country to another.
But all of the danger caught up with Noah. He lost his foot in an explosion and suffers from phantom pains and can’t sleep, keep down food, concentrate, write, or even take photographs. Noah is in danger of losing everything. His doctors, afraid he may develop full-blown PTSD, suggest he go back to Mirabelle to recover. Noah doesn’t want to see Sophie again, and hates the island, but he is willing to try anything.
Does this all sound like your typical “secret baby in an idyllic small town” book? Add in the fact that Noah’s father is the only law enforcement on Mirabelle, and it does sound clichéd. But this book is far from that.
Mirabelle is no picture-perfect small town. It’s filled with complicated people and the author skillfully weaves a number of very real issues facing Mirabelle - including the island’s dwindling tourism income, the costs and benefits of modernization, and the limitations of Island life for children – into the story.
I really liked both Noah and Sophie. They are not perfect. Each struggles with complicated problems, and both show considerable growth over the course of the book.
Sophie also has issues, although they aren’t dealt with quite as directly as Noah’s. She only manages to go off-island about once a year and resists any change to the place she calls home. Sophie tries to help Noah only because she wants him off the island since she doesn’t trust him, hasn’t forgiven him, and wants him nowhere near her children. Although troubled, Sophie isn’t a pushover, and frequently talks back to Noah.
Although the sex scenes are rather limited, there’s a clear chemistry between Sophie and Noah right from the first. However, if you prefer more sex in your romances, this won’t be the book for you.
I enjoyed this one so much that I honestly didn’t want it to end, even though I was still very happy with the final resolution. In fact, when I finally put it down, I was sorely tempted to immediately begin a reread. The author’s next two books are set on Mirabelle Island. I intend to pick them up as soon as they come out.
-- LinnieGayl Kimmel
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