Monday, January 21, 2013
When Rowena Wright returns to her childhood home after 16 years and the death of her father, she's prepared for it to be a difficult return. The house hold a lot of dark memories, as does the local sheriff, Dallas Garwood. Rowena's mom died suddenly when she was a teenager, and she and her sisters were sent off to live with relatives without a backward glance. Rowena was known as a wild child, the one who tempted Saint Dallas into Temptation, and got caught. (No secret babies, it does not go there, thankfully.) She's certain the close knit locals hate her, and she's shocked to find that Dallas actually doesn't hate her. Dallas is cautious, but never assumes she's the same person she used to be. He's cautious, because he has a child, but he's definitely interested in pursuing Rowena.
If you read the back cover of Wild for the Sheriff , it sounds like a totally different book. Even the cover imagine brings to mind a fun reunion book. Instead, there's a lot of processing of both of their pasts, and there is a lot of darkness. This isn't a light and fluffy romance, and there's a good bit of doubt about what will happen. There's a lot to like in these pages and for the most part Rowena and Dallas are both reasonable adults. Rowena worries a good bit about what she inherited from her parents, and discovers that she is a lot more different than she thought. Dallas has a son from a failed marriage and as any good parent does, he worries about the effect that a failed romance with Rowena will have on his child. Despite this being a Harlequin romance, the majority of the book isn't really focused on the romance. It's largely about Rowena herself coming to terms with her family and her past, and making a decision about how she wants to live her future. The romance is a little bit steamy (the bridge!!) and largely just a quiet side story until the final resolution. It worked for me, but it wasn't typical of a Harlequin, in my experience.
The book has flaws, of course, the secondary characters are about as fleshed out as you'd expect from a Harlequin, while still setting us up for a series. Rowena has two sisters, and it falls for the common trope of "we were raised separately after the death of our mother, so we are totally different and don't know each other well." (See Also: the first three Lucky Harbor novels.) Dallas has a younger brother who is an actual adult but Dallas is still overly invested in raising him and making sure he goes to college. (See Also: Only Mine from the Fool's Gold series by Susan Mallery.) Rowena is a bit fickle and selfish and I'm not sure I really appreciated her rashness, but she does come to her senses quickly enough. Despite all this, I couldn't really stop thinking about the book after I finished, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series as they are released.
This title will be published in February 2013.
You can find Kathleen O'Brien online here (tho it does not appear that she updates it regularly), on twitter, and on Facebook.
I received a copy of Wild For the Sheriff from NetGalley for review purposes, but the opinions are my own.