Monday, February 22, 2016

Where She Belongs by Johnnie Alexander




I haven’t read this author’s work before. I like trying new-to-me authors, especially when I discover they are gifted story-tellers. This was a strong story.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Shelby Kincaid is ready to move on from her grief. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family's ancestral homestead so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she'll have her work cut out for her.

AJ Sullivan never wanted the homestead. Inherited as a punishment from his grandfather, it has sat empty for fifteen years and fallen into ruin. He's glad to finally unload it. But a clean break isn’t possible when he can’t get the young widow Shelby off his mind.

Welcome to Misty Willow, a place that will have as great a hold over the reader as it does over its inhabitants. With writing that evokes a strong sense of place and personal history, Johnnie Alexander deftly explores the ties that bind us to home—and the irresistible forces that draw us to each other.

And now, my review:

Our heroine is trying to recapture her past—a history she hasn’t fully reconciled with. She is moving back to her family’s homestead after years and years away.

Our hero has known betrayal and loneliness and he’s trying to help the heroine, though she may not always believe it.

There were a couple of spots in the story where I was rather confused—perhaps leaps in logic? I found a few POV missteps, including where male POV sounded too feminine. And there were some talking-heads dialogue runs that lacked emotion.

I felt the heroine was a little too naïve. We didn’t get a clear understanding of her late husband’s acts, but if he was manipulative, why didn’t the heroine see that in the hero’s cousin?

One of my favorite aspects of this story was the central verse.

There was some predictability. So I was pleased to find some unpredictable elements that made for a stronger story. I also liked the historical references regarding the property.

Overall, a solid novel.

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