I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Entangled Publishing on September 23, 2014
Source: the Publisher
Preservationist Lila Gentry returns to her small Texas hometown to restore the famous Chisholm Trail whorehouse where her great-great-grandmother was a madam in the 1880s. On her agenda is winning back Jake, the one that got away. But how do you rope a man who doesn't want to be wrangled?
Jake lives by one creed: Keep it simple. His ex showing up in town complicates his life and makes him think about things he'd rather forget.
When Lila's restoration project is threatened before it even begins, she turns to Jake for help. Working together stirs up old feelings, but while Lila and Jake always sizzle between the sheets—or wherever the moment takes them—it will involve some sweet-talking and finesse to bring these two together.
Lila Gentry has had a tough life. Her father died when she was very young and her mother left her soon after. Raised by her Granny, Lila managed to do well in school and married her high school sweetheart, Jake Winters, right after graduation. But then Jake was diagnosed with cancer and he spent the better part of a year trying to get her to leave him. His efforts finally wore Lila down and she left Hannington, Texas for Dallas and hasn’t been back in ten years. But now business has brought her home to an injured Granny, a still-lustful yet distant husband, and a mystery diary linked to the condemned building Lila buys shortly after arriving. Lila is determined to get her husband back and, lucky for her, Jake is the contractor assigned to the condemned building. Lust flares between Lila and Jake, and although he’s been cancer-free for a year, will it be enough to bring the two lovers back together?
All right, I’m going to come straight out and say that I did not like this book. It was boring, slow, and failed to ever engage my interest. The characters are flat, quirks are thrown in for quirky-ness sake, and neither the hero nor the heroine could form any kind of consistent personality to save their lives. The “obstacles” in the hero and heroine’s lives were superficial and did not appear to play any significant role in the story since the “obstacle” was only an obstacle when it suited the plot’s purpose.
The plot was promising, but failed to engage my interest I think due largely in part to the writing. There are a myriad of unnecessary details bogging down the plot’s progress, so much that is is at times borderline purple prose. The “diary entries” from Miss Pru’s diary do not read like diary entries at all and are instead just another story within the story. This would be fine except that there are times when the point of view of the “diary entries” change from traditional third person (like the novel itself) into first person (diary entry style) and then back again. Already thrown by the third person-styled diary entries, I found this jumping back and forth even more jarring. Combine this style with the lack of transition or connection with the main plot and I was more than a little frustrated by this book.
I almost quit reading this book so many times. If the publisher had not provided a copy in exchange for an honest review, I would not have bothered to finish it at all. I dreaded each time I had to pick it up and was not interested by the characters or plot at all. Skip this one.