hospitality of the Carson family and their Wild Rose Farm and Stables. It's a place where love is always possible--and sweeter than ever the second time around. . .
Mallory Thompson and Keith Carson are far from impressed with each other when she arrives at his family's horse farm, fleeing an abusive marriage. Mallory sees nothing but a gruff man who's as patronizing as her soon-to-be ex-husband, and Keith has no time for a city girl who's afraid of dogs. But the struggling Wild Rose is too small to allow anyone to keep their distance. . .
As one by one, Mallory wins the hearts of his family, from his cranky father to his headstrong younger sister and three-legged dog, Keith finds himself more than a little attracted to her stubborn charm. And the longer Mallory stays, the more she realizes Keith is nothing like the overbearing bully she married--and the more she fantasizes about being in his strong, loving arms. Maybe some folks get a second chance to make a first impression after all. . .
Comment: Another book I can't remember why I added to my TBR but looking at the blurb and seeing what the story is about, I figure I added it because it would have a heroine looking to heal herself after a bad relationship and falling in love with a new place and a man she would not think would like her.
In this story we meet heroine Mallory when she shows up at her friend Luke's house with a bruise in her face. The scene then jumps into Luke's farm in Kentucky where his family lives and where he leaves Mal because he has something urgent to do. While time passes and Mal thinks about her options, she decides to help around the farm but she is not a natural at all. Still, Luke's family - father Cal, brother Keith, sister Katie and housekeeper Libby - welcomes Mal but are still a little uncertain as why she is there.
Mal feels like she can't really help but she tries even if that causes issues among the farm chores. But the more she talks to Keith and spends time in such a quiet and welcoming area, the more she stats to believe she can accomplish anything and be happy. She is in the process of divorcing her husband but will Keith accept loving someone again after a tragedy in his past?
Apparently, this is the author's first book and it shows. I say this because it feels as if the author had many ideas, many elements she felt like introducing and some feel too much while others were not developed in the best way (according to me).
The story begins with Luke's point of view of what Mal's life has been and his decision to help her. This is fine, but we never have Luke's perspective again so maybe a better option would be to not focus things in his thoughts. Then, Mal is at the farm, she has issues and she feels like trying to help since the family is letting her stay even when Luke's only explanation is that she is his fiancé. I think this was a very poor attempt to create some conflict between Mal and her new love interest, which obviously is Luke's brother. I suppose this was a tactic so that Keith would not feel he should be attracted to Mal and therefore, the acting on their feelings would be delayed?
Mal is a simple character, she is a humble, quiet young woman, she leaned too much on the man who became her husband and their relationship, we discover, was never balanced. His personality was too abrasive and she felt like she had to change for him. This is, clearly, to better contrast with Keith, who suffered in his past so he had another way of seeing things and that means he is much more understanding and suitable to Mal. I don't mind these tactics but thy seem evident and for me this only shows the author had the ideas but was not certain on how to write them. I understand the ideas but they seem to lack some complexity, some necessary layers of characterization, so the characters themselves feel like more dimensional.
The romance is fine, I guess, but because Keith and Mal didn't seem to be well characterized, they don't get to be as special as I would have liked, in the big scheme of things. Their actions seem to be driven to take them to a certain place and don't feel as natural or intrinsic to their lives. They are just there, doing those things...I can't explain myself properly.
As for the secondary characters, some are fine, others are just props, none is as clearly defined as I believe would enrich the story more, but I supposed it was because the small hints we have about them would be exploited in the sequels. However, when I took a peak at the blurbs, the next books aren't about these characters, it's about people who don't how up in this book. I don't know what to think, it just feels as if this book didn't develop all the necessary elements and presented things that don't really matter for the story being told.
Closer to the end some situations happen to "accelerate" the main characters' decision to be a couple and, honestly, I think those were more unnecessary elements. I think the author could have focused on the main couple, explore their relationship with one another and with the secondary characters better and this would have been a much sweeter and romantic story. So, between the things that don't feel important and the ones that should and could have been written better, I have to say I wasn't too impressed. This isn't a bad story overall, but it's certainly not one I'll fell like re-reading.