Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday Book Review: Winter in Sweetwater County, by Ciara Knight

Winter in Sweetwater County, by Ciara Knight
Published January 2014 by Defy the Dark Publishing

About the Book:
Lisa Mortan’s ideal life crumbles when her rich and powerful fiancĂ© demands she ends an unwanted pregnancy. With no job or social support, she flees to a small town in hopes of finding a good family for her unborn baby, but instead finds a man who is as broken as she is.

Eric Gaylord returns to his home town for a respite after a tragic loss, but when his spitfire mother takes on an unknown woman as a business partner, he is forced to face the nightmare he’d left behind or risk losing the one woman who could heal his heart.
My Take

An old-fashioned, small town sweet romance that's been updated just enough to be contemporary... but still doesn't have a contemporary romance feel. It's more like a Hallmark movie, filled with small town quirkiness, gossip and meddling neighbors, with nothing too steamy and hi-jinx that keeps pages turning while you wait for the other shoe to drop. They keep talking about those shoes dropping...

An editor once told me I had "too much ex" in my story. She said, "everyone has an ex, everyone understands the ex. Paint in broad brush and move on. Romance is about possibilities, not the past." Being the newbie author, of course I argued with her. My ex was the bad guy, so I felt it important to build him up. In the end, that particular manuscript didn't get far. (My takeaway: Newbies shouldn't argue with editors, duh. Editors tend to know what works.)

Both of the main characters in Ciara Knight's story are haunted by memories of their exes. Too much ex, and not enough focus on what's right in front of them - each other. Now, granted, one of the exes does come back into the picture as the evil nemesis, but I felt like it could've had more startling impact if it hadn't been dwelled on and telegraphed throughout the entire book.

I will admit that "sweet" is not one of my usual genres of choice, and I know this is a very successful series, so perhaps I just didn't "get" it.

All that said, it was easy to read, well written and enjoyable for a few hours of beach reading. If you like sweet, small town romances that don't tug too hard on your heart strings and have nary a naked body part to be found, this series may be a good choice to load on your Kindle for easy summer reading by the pool. (And trust me, there's something to be said for not getting caught by a stranger - or another mom - reading something steamier while supposedly watching the kids swim. Not that it's ever happened to me. Okay maybe just once...)

Sweet. Small town. Simple.

If that sounds up your alley, find a copy on Amazon.

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