Friday, May 21, 2010

HOME IN CAROLINA A Sweet Magnolias Novel by Sherryl Woods

Publisher: Mira Books
Date published: March 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2756-1
Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (Dawn
Obtained by Library

Annie Sullivan has loved Tyler Townsend all her life. After dreaming of a life and future together with him, it all ends with a shattering betrayal that leaves her hurt, angry and still in love with Tyler. Coming home to Serenity, Annie is a sports physical therapist and though she tells herself she is over Tyler, she is blindsided when he comes back to Serenity to rehab his shoulder along with his son. Tyler knows he hurt Annie and losing her made him realize she was and still is the best thing in his life. Tyler has an uphill battle to win back Annie’s trust and forgiveness for all hell is about to break loose when Tyler’s son’s mother comes back into the picture. Can Annie and Tyler find their way back to each other before it is too late?

HOME IN CAROLINA is the one story I have been waiting for since the beginning of the Sweet Magnolias series. Tyler and Annie were two characters who resonated with me as a reader and frankly, knowing they finally get their story told had me anxious for this book. Ms. Woods always has wonderful, complex stories that stir your every emotion and HOME IN CAROLINA is no exception. What I had an issue with is the fact there were too many people in the story to keep me intrigued in Tyler and Annie’s story. With all the familiar characters coming and going, it felt a bit crowded within the book. Otherwise, Ms. Woods delivers an emotional story that will hit your heart on all levels.

Annie Sullivan has loved Tyler Townsend all her life and frankly, his infidelity while dating has caused her to not trust him…even as he says he has changed and still loves her. The fact that he has a three-year old son hurts Annie even more as she dreamed of being the one to give him those children one day. Annie has to figure out if letting go of the pain and anger of his betrayal is enough to soothe the hurt in her heart and soul or if she should walk away from Tyler forever. Annie is a character I could see being friends with. She has had her issues in the past if you have read the previous Sweet Magnolias books and now she has to figure out that forgiveness is a big part of being human and adult. I really rooted for Annie to find the love she has for Tyler and to let herself hope again…even as events spiraled out of control at times to make her doubt him.

Tyler is a man consumed by regrets and pain. He knows what he did to Annie was wrong and he is determined to get her to forgive him…even if it is just as friends again. He didn’t just lose his lover; he lost his best friend as well with his stupidity. Back in Serenity, he is determined to woo the one woman who means the world to him. The question is-will Annie let him into her heart? Tyler is a man I could see Annie being with-strong, determined and loyal to a fault except he made one too many mistakes that even I would have a hard time forgiving.

Both characters show a depth and maturity that wasn’t in the earlier books and it made this one more rich in emotion as they grapple with moving two steps forward then a slide back as things happen, miscommunication and other items try to derail them. Both characters are well rounded and very enjoyable especially as family and friends get in on the picture. There were some light hearted moments that helped ease the heavier moments and Ms. Woods’s sets up the next two books in the series that has me hoping to grab them soon. Overall, the story moves swiftly and keeps you entertained till the end.

HOME IN CAROLINA is a wonderful, complex story that will leave you longing for more after the last page is read. Ms. Woods is a masterful storyteller who knows how to keep her readers on the edge of her seat and this is no exception. I just wished she had less on sub-plots and more of Tyler and Annie’s story to enjoy. Overall, this was a fairly enjoyable story and I look forward to more Sweet Magnolias in the future. I highly recommend the entire series for those who enjoy a complex, emotional story that will sweep you off your feet.


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