Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Publisher: Berkley
Date published: February 28, 2012
ISBN 9780515150360
Paranormal romance, Fantasy
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by publisher

Olivia Baldwin has spent most of her life trying to be invisible. When invisible isn’t happening she runs or hides rather than confront. Any number of eligible men have considered courting the young woman but given her propensity to take off at a moment’s notice the local available men have stopped giving her a second thought. Passed from foster home to foster home the only stability in her life were Ezra and his late wife, Doris, who run the local store. Looking back over her life the elderly couple seemed to always happen to move to the same neighborhood Olivia found herself in. Olivia, along with her in-laws, run Inglenook, a camp helping parents and children to learn to communicate. The town adores Olivia and pretty near reveres her because her late husband gave his life for his country. Olivia does her best to raise her eight year old daughter, Sophie, on her own with minimal input from the in-laws. With camp a few weeks from opening, against her better judgment, Olivia hired Mark Briar but things with Mark quickly go south. Fortunately for Olivia, Maximilian Oceanus arrives on the scene.

Three months before Maximilian (Mac) discovered he is the father of a six year old boy named Henry. Henry’s mother never told Mac she was pregnant leaving Max to find out after her death. Suddenly thrust into parenthood Mac seeks answers on the best way to connect with Henry by coming to Inglenook. Despite Olivia’s protestations, Mac digs in and becomes the hired help at Inglenook.

Olivia finds herself more and more attracted to uber hottie, Mac, but he is an employee and will soon be one of her campers. Besides, she doesn’t plan on getting involved with anyone again.

Breathtakingly handsome Mac finds himself drawn more and more to Olivia, feeling things he never imagined possible. But he has an inner demon that once released he knows will turn Olivia on him once and for all. Can Olivia and Mac overcome their personal demons to find their way to each other?

I haven’t read Janet Chapman in quite a few years and eagerly turned to SPELLBOUND FALLS to recapture the magic I remembered from her books. Ms. Chapman delivered that and more. SPELLBOUND FALLS starts off as a sweet romance, the kind you would pick up for your teenage daughter to introduce her to romance. Olivia is complex with her own unresolved issues as a mother, widow and vulnerable woman living under the shadow of her in-laws. Mac as well is multi-layered—thrust into fatherhood of a six year old without prior warning coupled with his own family dynamics. In a fun twist on Beauty and the Beast Ms. Chapman pulls Olivia and Mac into a wonderful romance. At first I wasn’t so sure about that aspect but the more I sat with it the more I really, really liked it.

When I first started reading SPELLBOUND FALLS I felt like I started in the middle of the book. Characters’ names are put out there without any reference to where they came from. I wondered if I’d picked up a subsequent book in the series rather than the first. Once I got into the story and started to get a fix on the characters I knew who they were, went back, and read the initial chapters.

There were points, such as Olivia’s ambivalence to her deceased husband that lost me. Yes, it comes together in the end but there were times it felt like she’d written herself into a corner and wasn’t sure how to find her way out of it.

Sophie is eight and Henry is six years old but they didn’t behave like any children of their age I’ve seen or read before. I appreciated that they weren’t the precocious saccharin cute kids I’ve seen in other books; but I also didn’t see any difference between them and the adults.

I loved the albatrosses. They added some great humor to the story. I am looking forward to Peg’s story. Who’s Peg? You’ll have to read SPELLBOUND FALLS to meet her!

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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