November 2012, Contemporary Romance
Signet, $7.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0451238494 Part of a series
I have never read a book by Ms. Fox, but after another staff member here at AAR stated she was looking forward to reading this book, I decided to take a second look at the title. I liked a the sample chapter of one of her previous books, plus the unique Alaskan setting intrigued me, so I requested to review her latest. I found the book’s dialogue realistic and cute and the conflict very genuine, but it felt like the author got stuck, like a needle in a scratched groove on a record, with her emphasis of conflict over and over.
Growing up, Grier Thompson begged her mother for information about her father, but her mother is an expert at ignoring what she doesn’t want to deal with. It is only after his death that Grier discovers more about the man who fathered her. It is heartbreaking to realize that father knew of her, but couldn’t be bothered to develop a relationship with her. Why did he think naming her in his will would make up for decades of neglect? Arriving in Indigo for the reading of the will, she is unprepared for the town’s hostility or the discovery that she has a half-sister Kate, who is determined to see that Grier inherits nothing. Grier’s not mercenary, but since her sister was the only recipient of their father's love for twenty-six years, Grier’s not about to back off. She calls on her best friend for help and soon the town’s Alaskan chill towards her is defrosting a bit. In fact Mick O’Shaughnessy takes friendliness to a whole new level during the night they spend together, which is something that Grier is determined to forget. She is only planning on being in town for another four to six weeks and doesn’t need to start a relationship that has no chance of success.
Mick has always enjoyed his bachelorhood, but he can’t get Grier off his mind. Her insistence that it was just a one-off just makes him more determined to show her that there is the potential for much more if she will only give them a chance. He is not taking her words at face value, because he knows that the situation with her father and her history have her running scared. However, Grier’s not the only one who has fears to face.
This book is the second book in a series, and the initial portion of Grier and Mick’s relationship begins in the first book. The author recaps the basic information but the details are few, which I found a little frustrating. So while the book does stand on its own, I do think that readers will get a better picture of the community, characters and the background of Mick and Grier’s relationship by reading the previous book in the series before this one.
Ms. Addison writes great one-liners and zingers, not so much laugh-out-loud funny, but inventive and creative. The friendship between the women and their dialogue with each other is authentic, easily becoming some of my favorite parts of the book.
The rest of the plot I found uneven. Mick and Grier’s romance starts in the first book, so with this book the reader jumps straight into their discord. There is no doubt that timing is a very valid and honest concern. Two people in a relationship need to want the same thing. And, I do understand that Grier feels like she not in a good place to act on her feelings. But I have mixed emotions about how Mick handles her insecurities. I almost want him to step back and let Grier get her head on straight without his forcefulness. In fact I would have liked it more if his winning her over seemed more like a courtship than a struggle of wills. Mick appeared to have only one strategy to overcome Grier’s doubts, which is to repeat often how good they are together.
Dampening the mood of the book is the fact that everyone appears to have problems. Mick has issues from an incident fifteen years ago. Kate’s life hasn’t been as idyllic as she likes to pretend to Grier. Jason, Grier’s ex-fiancé, brings his emotional baggage to the picture too. Too many things detract from Grier and Mick’s relationship.
Even with the positive aspects, the book still only turned out to be slightly better than an okay read, plus I doubt that I will read the last book in the series. If you loved the first book, then I suspect you will enjoy this book more than I did but otherwise, I can't recommend it.
-- Leigh Davis
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