Published: June 26, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
Amy Bright has long been the go-to girl of Destiny when someone needs a smile, a hug or just to feel good about life. She’s stood by her friends, held their hands when they were sad, laughed when they were happy and done a fair share of match making about town. Her cozy book store, Under the Covers houses more than books—lately quite a few stray cats have turned up and Amy has found them homes. On the brink of becoming the spinster cat lady of Destiny, for the most part, Amy is okay with her life. That is until one night she shares a toe curling kiss with her life-long friend, Logan Whittaker.
Logan’s always been there for his friends. A fire fighter he has rescued them in more ways than one, including being the guy who has helped Amy rescue her kitty, Knightley from his forays up a tree. But the one time he is unable to bring about a rescue, he is devastated and falls into a depression that even has Amy worried about him. On the heels of that rescue gone wrong, his good friend Mike’s long lost sister, Anna returns to town. Was that toe curling kiss with Amy true love? Or is Anna the one for him.
I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of Toni Blake’s Destiny series books. They follow a pattern of starting out with a fairly innocuous situation, such as Amy’s cat Knightley being in the tree, go into a kind of “fluff” phase and then deal with a difficult, life altering situation. In those situations Blake takes her readers into the character’s experience—which is true to life in terms of the subject matter. In past books she’s dealt with a kidnapping and the suffering a family goes through, a character struggling with Crones disease and in WILLOW SPRINGS, PTSD. She paints a realistic picture of the struggle and takes the character to a healing place with compassion. Unfortunately for me, in WILLOW SPRINGS, much of that compassion was buried under the “mean girl” love triangle created by Anna’s return. Until the very end I didn’t feel very much compassion for Anna—and in part that was because of how Logan was developed. There were words about him being a player, but I didn’t see it.
And Anna’s own conflict – finding her family after twenty years—just didn’t ring true. She shows up in town, gets the hots for Logan and makes a play for him—but except for a few words on her part, nothing of her struggle to accept her real family was raised. The parents pop into town for a couple of days and go on their way? No counselling? No big welcome home party? No news media coverage that a kidnapped child was returned? Granted, this is fiction, but a little reality would not have been amiss.
Like all of the books in this series the women seem a little pre-occupied about sex—and yes, it IS a romance. However rather than thirty-something women they seem more like high school girls. For the most part the stories, and particularly WILLOW SPRINGS is more of a young adult than a contemporary romance.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.