Readjusting to small-town life is harder than Claire expected, so she's surprised, and grateful, to find companionship in Willow, an abused Thoroughbred mare.
Willow is Claire's "whisper horse," and they share a special, rare bond. Except Willow isn't the only one helping Claire heal; Willow's ruggedly handsome veterinarian, Dr. Tim Arbuckle, is sympathetic...and secretive.
Devastated by his wife's death, Tim thought he'd never find love again.
The stoic, sexy doctor was sure he'd left his heart behind when he came to Sanctuary. But Claire stirs up emotions he thought he'd buried long ago.
For the first time, the doctor can see past his grief...until Willow falls gravely ill. Tim and Claire must save Willow's life and, surrounded by the majestic mountains of West Virginia, believe in a love so encompassing, so intimately intense, their lives will never be the same again.
Comment: I found out about this book from one friend who claimed this was a beautiful story. Based on the blurb I thought it would be so and I purchased the book in January. This month I just had to read it because I was really curious about it.
This is the story of Claire, she's a art dealer sort of and she put her career in New York on hold to help her sister back in West Virginia because she has Lyme disease. Things aren't well in her sister's marriage either and Claire can't help but think of her own failed marriage. She starts working for the local gallery and she volunteers at the horse stables where she finds a whisper horse to talk to.
The veterinary Dr Tim also has issues with his former relationship, his well known celebrity wife killed herself and he doesn't seem to be over that but after meeting Claire something tells him it's time.
Dealing with their closed ones lives and their own fear, can Claire and Tim start something new?
First of all, I have to say this, the author must be a fan of that song "country roads" by John Denver because the titles of this trilogy by her are "take me home", "country roads" and "the place I belong" which are the main words in the chorus of that song which goes by "...country roads, take me home, to the place I belong, West Virginia...."...and yes, guess what, the setting is actually West Virginia! I totally get the inspiration here!
This being of my chest, I have to say the story didn't start as that amazing for me. This is the first book by the author I read and I guess I wasn't really focused on it because the beginning seemed rushed, it looked like we landed right on the middle of things and I missed the slower introduction author in this genre usually have.
After a few chapters I started to get more into the plot and details but there was always a certain feeling of something not being really smooth as I imagined, in terms of development, I can't explain it. I just knew something was off but I now think it was all about my mood.
Later on when I went back to the story with less outside interference I could focus better and enjoyed the story much more.
So, after some chapters the characters started to grow more on me and I ended up liking them and their small town of Sanctuary. Still, it seems for such a small town they had a lot of things we normally don't see but I assume this is my misguidance again as I've never visited an American small town. Anyway, the whole community seemed supportive and played an important part in the story's development. Not the characters in there, the actual town is what I mean. I liked how the author gave life and importance to the place itself and how that changed the character's POVs sometimes.
To talk about the characters I need to mention the romance. Claire and Tim have similar issues from their pasts to overcome and they end up finding happiness together. I liked how they were shown to complement each other, how their feelings looked like intensifying throughout the book but again, at first I thought their connection happened too fast so, not perfect for me.
I loved the HEA.
This story talks about second chances and grabbing a new life, a new purpose, a new experience after something bad. I applaud when authors do this but in real life things wouldn't certainly be as easy or fast. Still, the idea, the concept are both interesting and dignifying and show how everyone can look for something better even if we need to overcome bad things before getting there.
The secondary characters aren't taking up space from the main couple but they exist and don't just fill up space which I liked. I'm curious to see how the tight group pf characters would interact in the following books.
All in all, this was a good book which didn't start as well as I imagined but that eventually grew on me mainly because the plot gained interest and increased the romance/personal character development. I think the author managed to reach a sort of balance that makes this book feel well thought and edited. I hope the next ones are as good.