This is one of those books that grows on you as the story goes on. The romance doesn’t really kick in until about a quarter of the way in, and a lot of it reads more like women’s fiction, with a heavy, emotional, and sometimes dry feel. Bybee tackled some real life issues that are close to her heart, detailing what it’s like for individuals who are forced to deal with the aftermath – and potential reappearance – of natural disasters. It’s an unlikely setup for a romance novel, but is written with skill and patience as this slow burn builds into something deep. I won’t lie to you and say that I loved every minute – I think a significant amount of detail could’ve been eliminated and it would’ve been much more effective and entertaining while still getting the message across – but it tells an important story and is definitely worth a read.
The story follows Parker, a young woman who is dealing with more than any one person should. After the death of her parents, she was left to take responsibility for her siblings and leave behind the life she expected to have. When disaster strikes and damages the family home, it’s devastating in a multitude of ways. Enter Colin, a public works employee who becomes an important person in Parker’s life. The two slowly build from strangers to lovers, connecting during an extremely messy time for Parker.
Bybee’s writing is as solid as always, and once the romance kicked into high gear, my enjoyment of the story increased immensely. It’s a poignant, heartbreaking, and emotional story that will unfortunately hit close to home for many people. I can’t imagine going through everything Parker does and still showing her strength. I loved Colin as a hero because he accepts that it’s not an ideal time for Parker to start something, and he provides her support along the way. If you’re looking for women’s fiction with an element of romance, this is certainly worth your time. I received an ARC via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review.
A woman’s journey through tragedy leads to the discovery of love in a novel about hope and survival by New York Times bestselling author Catherine Bybee.
When a wildfire nearly destroys Parker Sinclair’s family home, it’s just one more disaster to add to her mountain of stress. For the past two years, she has shouldered the responsibility of raising her younger brother and sister after their parents’ untimely deaths. Forced to leave college for a crappy job that barely pays the bills, Parker manages her family property, which consumes every aspect of her life. Now winter is coming and the forecast isn’t spreading sunshine on the dark cloud over her head. The last thing Parker needs is a mudslide destroying everything she has worked so hard to maintain.
Colin Hudson’s job as a public works supervisor is to protect Parker’s property and neighborhood from further damage. But it’s a little hard when the owner of the land is a control freak who tries to do everything herself. The hardworking, attractive young woman is far from the “hot mess” she claims to be. In fact, her tight grip of control is one of the things that attract him the most. It’s also the hardest to crack. Now Colin’s working overtime to help Parker open up her heart, trust him, and let him in.
As Parker and Colin work together to keep her home and neighborhood safe, they may be in for another disaster. Or they may just realize that sometimes it takes destruction to create something new.