The New York Times bestselling author of Silver Thaw returns to Mystic Creek for a new novel about a love that inspires the courage to start over…and the strength to reclaim a dream.
When Taffeta Brown was viciously betrayed by her wealthy husband, she lost everything—including custody of their daughter, Sarah. Now that Taffy has moved to Mystic Creek, Oregon, to start over, she unexpectedly meets the one man who might help her get Sarah back.
Barney Sterling, a local lawman, finds himself drawn to the lovely, guarded Taffy, but he’s stunned by her proposition—that they marry immediately to improve her chances of regaining custody of her daughter. Barney takes marriage too seriously to commit himself to a woman he hardly knows. Yet soon his sympathies fall with the desperate Taffy, and pretending to be in love becomes the easiest part of the plan. But they have no idea what they’re up against, or what they’re willing to risk to make a miracle come true in Mystic Creek.
Quaint small Oregon farm town, solid family presence, heroine with legit trouble, and a golden hero ready to step up and do the right thing.
So I set this one aside for later about a year and a half ago. I was not feeling the book and the heroine pulled a stunt that just set my back up. I let it set and over the time since, I went back and read book one in this series (didn’t realize this was a book two when I picked it up) and fell in love with Jeb and Amanda in Silver Thaw. It reminded me that I loved Jeb’s family and the poignant story. I decided on the spur of the moment that I wanted to pick this one up again and get Jeb’s brother, Barney’s story.
It’s funny. I had marked the book right where I stopped reading and I had a pretty good memory of what led up to that point so I decided to press on from there. I think that was a good call. The funny part is that if I had just read on a little further I probably wouldn’t have DNF’d the book at the time though who knows if I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. Hard to say because… mood reader.
Anyway, this time around, I had no hang-ups and this one read like a charmer. I can see that the author has a real gift for writing a poignant situation. She kept it real with Taffeta’s troubles and they didn’t all go away just because she got with Barney. It did move forward slowly and the marriage of convenience morphed into something real though Barney tried to be honorable about it. The process of proving her innocence and getting Sarah back was a pretty strong part of the conflict in the latter half of the book.
New Leaf was much gentler than the first book, Silver Thaw, and it paced out slowly. It was more realistic for sure. I think the author’s writing style and tones take some adjustment. There is a small town, pro-family and clean living vibe to it though it can get spicy and doesn’t shirk when it comes to the grittier things people can be and do to each other when it came to Taffy’s ex and what happened with her daughter.
All in all, I ended up enjoying this one quite a bit this second shot I took at it though I did find it lagged in places. I look forward to getting Ben’s story next, maybe. That situation looked promising. So I’d recommend these to those who enjoy a sweet, poignant, and spicy small town contemporary romance.
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