Sunday, 6 February 2011

Only You

Author: Deborah Grace Staley
Genre: Romance
Series: 1st book in the "Angel Ridge" series
Series Order:
  1. Only You (2004)
  2. A Home for Christmas (2009)
  3. What the Heart Wants (2010)

First Line: "It was one of those days."

Synopsis: Angel Ridge, Tennessee is a very small town of only 500 people. Everyone knows everything about each other and the gossip mill is always hummin'. In this small town, there are two very distinct classes of society -- and each class stays to their own side of 'the ridge'.

Josie Allen grew up in Angel Ridge but went away to university and earned many degrees including a PhD in library sciences. With her degrees in hand she returns to her home town to become the Director of their local library. Josie is expected to socialize with those in her own social class and to adhere to their social rules. When she unexpectedly becomes involved with the local handyman, Cole Craig, tongues start wagging and Josie's job is threatened.

My Thoughts:
Going into this book I told myself to take it for what it is ... a sweet romance. I reminded myself that it probably wasn't going to be a deep storyline with complicated characters ... and I was right. This book had a very easy-going storyline which was very thin and obvious most of the time. It was a sweet book but after awhile it was a little too 'flowery' and cutsie for me. At one point after Josie and Cole start seeing each other Josie thinks to herself "Was it her, or was the sun brighter today? The sky bluer? The robin's song more lyrical?". Um, ya. I adore Brad and remember when we started dating and I can't say that I ever pondered the robin's song. Perhaps I'm just not as poetic as dear Josie or maybe I have a heart of ice. Who knows. To each their own, I suppose.

I enjoyed the small town feel of the book and liked several of the secondary characters (especially diner owner Dixie and Josie's elderly neighbour) but wish they were more developed and included more in the book. I think they could have added another dimension to this thin and predictable storyline.

I loved that Josie was a highly educated woman but unfortunately her education didn't help her with practical life skills. She came off as overly naive for an educated woman who lived out in the 'big world' for 7 years. Her conversation with Cole about hickeys was bordering on silly and unbelievable. But towards the end of the book she shows some chutzpah and stands up for herself and even gets angry when Cole tries to come to the rescue. These two very different views of the same character came off as disjointed to me.

The underlying messages were good -- don't judge a book by it's cover and learning to stand on your own feet without worrying about what others think. Will I pick up another romance novel soon? I'm not crossing off the genre yet. I think I need a romance novel that has a little more meat on it's bones and more believable and well-rounded characters.

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars



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