Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jill Sanders - Finding Pride

Megan Kimble has finally freed herself from years of abuse at the hands of her ex. Now she can finally start a new life and figure out just who she really is. When her brother Matt dies suddenly, she takes a big risk and moves cross country to live in his house and take over his new business. This could be the chance she’s needed. There’s only one problem now. She can’t seem to escape the irresistible charm of her departed brother’s best friend.
Todd Jordan just lost his best friend and business partner. Watching Matt’s sister move into town, his attraction to her is instant. Can he prove to her that all men are not the same, and resist his own desires as she learns to trust again? Overcoming the odds is just part of their journey. The two must first survive a fateful visit from Megan’s ex to have any chance at happiness. 

Comment: I no longer remember why I got interested in this book and why I got it. I think it was free for a while somewhere and that was it. Going by the blurb (even with free books, if it's not your taste, why bother?), this would be the first of a new series set in a small town, so I guess I was looking for to fall in love with all the little details we usually read about in this type of stories. Sadly, it wasn't enough for me to want to keep reading.

This is the first story in the Pride series, featuring a small town and some of its inhabitants.
Megan has just arrived in town for her brother's funeral. She is very sad not only because of his passing but also because she feels she didn't return soon enough to be with him while they could spend time together. Now Megan finds out about his business - which he left her - and the people who saw her brother as a friend and she is going to sort of walk in his shoes. But Megan has a past she is not proud of and can she trust people again? Especially Todd, her brother's best friend?

While starting this novel, I confess I had hopes for something along the lines of Robyn Carr's Virgin River series, not that I wanted a copy of that, but I hoped for the same type of setting, themes explored, heroines down on their luck for the most part but who would become successful and proud of themselves, you know, the sort of thing one usually wants out of small town's stories.
However, the more I read, the less impressed I was. This is not a big book, but out of all the ones I've read this month, it has to be one of those who took the longest to finish.

There isn't one huge issue that ruined my reading, it was more a matter of several little aspects which I simply didn't love.
First, the writing itself. This author - a new one for me - seems to know what to write but not how to best do it in an engaging way. I hate to say it but it was boring to me. It didn't look as if the characters were actually being developed, the narrative was not vibrant and I fear it had a bit of telling vs showing syndrome as well. I never felt I was seeing the characters come to live. They existed, they did things but there was no real development.  For instance, Megan has had a bad marriage in her past and she is falling in love with Todd, but we are told that, we are shown images of them together but there isn't really a step from thinking about one status and going to another. It's weird. Besides, I found a bit annoying how this couple met and not too long after was already in love and they even say "I think I fell in love with you the moment I saw you", which is quite the cliché idea but it can work; here it wasn't the case, it just felt silly.

Another situation I found too boring was the romance. They meet, she is afraid of him with good reason - I think she was never in the best emotional position to fall in love or, maybe the author didn't explore this the best way - and he always seemed a stranger somehow, so why they were supposed to fall in love except it was handy for the plot, I don't know.
I was never convinced their relationship was strong or stable. There wasn't enough emotional development nor even silly scenes with them in a way that would tell me they were thoughtful of the other, except for sexual attraction and later on sex itself.

The plot was also a bit weak. The situation with Megan's ex is pointless. I liked how Megan tried to become a stronger person, how she helped others, how she sort of started to get included in the community... but that was it. Even the small town feel I expected could act a supporting role in all this didn't exist. There is mentioning of characters here and there, and they do this, thy do that... most characters are too superficial. The ones we are led to care about, most of the secondary ones I mean (like Todd's siblings and three or four other characters), were still too one dimensional. I can see why they will become protagonists but the writing just doesn't seem appealing to try it.

I think I'll stop here. Some of the next stories seem very interesting but assuming the writing is the same I know I'll just end up annoyed...or bored. I think this would work out for someone that is now beginning a reading journey. But after having read so much already,t his feels too bland. And with so much more to be read still, maybe someone else can enjoy this better than I could.
Grade: 3/10

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