I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.
When I picked up this book, I didn’t realize it was book #3 in a series. However, it reads well as a standalone, and nothing was lost.
Janie Atwood is a nurse and a good one. She lost her mother in childbirth and has lived her entire life with her grandparents. It was a good life and she was happy. It wasn’t until after the grandparents’ deaths, that she receives a letter from her grandmother with some shocking revelations.
When a job opening comes up to care for Damaris Gardiner in Cold River, Colorado, she jumps at the chance to find the answers to all the questions the letter raised, while making a living doing what she loves, caring for the elderly.
History is written by the people with the most to hide. Cold River is like any small town with a group of founding families and a hierarchy or pecking order. The author did a fabulous job of portraying the small-town image with lots of firmly rooted imagery.
Zack Kittredge is the sheriff of the small town and he prides himself in keeping order. He’s well-known for his stern grumpiness and devastatingly good looks. Everything in Zack’s world is black or white, right or wrong. There is no in-between and no flexibility with anything outside those rigid guidelines.
Janie’s introduction to Zack is to trip over her own two feet and send a spray of snowy mocha java all down the front of his pristine lawman shirt. She’s always been clumsy. She’s always been the good-natured friend or big sister in relationships with the opposite sex. That is until Zack.
I loved all of the complex family dynamics displayed in this story. Not just Janie’s estranged family, but Zack’s and Damaris Gardiner’s, the Halls, the Everetts, and everyone in between. Each family has issues and baggage. And just like in real life, they skirt around the issues, ignoring the elephants in the room and pretending everything is the way it should be.
It takes Janie’s honesty and bravery to set in motion a chain of events that will change everyone’s lives forever.
I loved this excerpt: Families were a collection of sweetness piled on top of sorrow, stories told and corrected and retold and misheard by every member, all interlaced together over the years.
After all, they are just people.
The story unfolds in entertaining and delicious layers. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it to anyone who loves complex romance stories set in small towns.
I gave this book an easy 5-Stars!