Monday, October 22, 2018

Janet Chapman - Spellbound Falls

Maximilian Oceanus arrives in Spellbound Falls just in time to save Olivia Baldwin from an overly aggressive suitor, only to find himself attracted to the beautiful, if rather aloof, widow. And although Mac has come to Inglenook to get a handle on fatherhood, his newly discovered six-year-old son has set his sights on finding his father a wife.
Olivia, however, is busy getting Inglenook ready for its new season, so she doesn't have time to deal with her growing attraction to the dangerously seductive Mac. Besides, weird stuff seems to happen all around him. Take the fact that her seatbelt keeps getting stuck in his presence, or locks magically open for him without keys, and that he seems to have a talent for "sensing" things. Never mind the three lost albatrosses walking down the road in the middle of the night. Since when are there albatrosses in Maine?
But despite Olivia's resistance to falling under the sexy man's spell, Olivia is having trouble fighting her longing. Because she knows Mac is just the man to unlock the powerful passion deep within her....

Comment: Another buddy read I have with my friend H.
We have decided on this one around 2015 for some reason, mostly due to the romance content but the specific reason I can't remember anymore.
We were hoping this was sweet and romantic as the cover also suggests but, for me, once again that old saying is correct: don't judge a book by its cover.

In this story we have the tale of Olivia Bladwin, a widowed mother who is trying her best to make a camp for troubled families work. It's true that is is her mother-in-law's idea but Olivia has deicated much of her time and effort to it but things seem to go a wrong way when the only worker for the camp decides his crush needs to be addressed and attacks her. Conveniently, she is rescued by Max Oceanus, one of the new guests, when he sees her in the road.
After this rescue, Max starts to focus his attention on Olivia's life too and not just on how to mend his relationship with his young son. But when weird situations start happening around Olivia, can she ignore them or will she realize Max is just another enigma as well?

From beginning to end, this story felt like it was too weird and the pacing and scenes' switch not that good.
I confess I struggled a little to keep track of what was supposed to be important because there are many things to pay attention to and not all were included well in the plot. This is mostly a contemporary story but with some paranormal elements here and there but the setting, the dynamics all point to just contemporary. The "rules" are the ones we see in contemporary. I really think the author missed the mark with the balance in this book.

The plot seems to be simple underneath all the complicated details. A widowed young woman with a young daughter works at a sort of camp where families go to not only have vacations or a good time, but also to connect with one another, something that Olivia, the protagonist, found a way to accomplish. I liked this idea of a single mother now having to/wanting to work to provide for her daughter but to be an example too. But this is the basics. From this premise on, everything is too weird and out of pace.

The plot is very centered on Olivia assuring the continuity of the work she's doing but many things happen, like the attack on her person, the two guests who turn out to act more like friends of the family, the dad being someone Olivia is attracted to and the young son he has acting too much as a grown up to mysterious things happening without any warning.
Apparently, this book features Max, the protagonist hero, a character known to fans of the author from another series. I had no idea this would be so and that means I felt a little lost sometimes and the writing certainly didn't give me the impression of helping.

The romance scenes/vibe were off as well. Why were these two people attracted? I would have loved to see them interact with their kids in a believable way for a story set on our world. The paranormal details weren't that heavy but they weren't fully explained as well (a detail we were supposed to have known already?) and they made no sense in this story. In what way did the story gain from this? I don't think in any. Even the kids' behavior was off putting since they were like mini adults. 
Some secrets uncovered had their impact but overall, I was disappointing because I expected a certain type of story and this went a different way. 
I know the author has passed away and she as very liked by her fans but I can't say I ended up being one. I still have another book by her to read... hopefully, it will be better.
Grade: 4/10

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