What I love about Winter Renshaw is that I never know what I’m going to get; each book is wholly unique, and the journey is always unpredictable. That’s definitely the case with this one as well, which certainly didn’t progress in the way I expected. The premise was engaging, the story moved quickly, and the audio made it perfect for bingeing. So I ended up devouring this in no time at all, even if the romance was a little unfulfilling.
The story follows Anneliese, a woman whose fiancé recently passed away in an accident. While she should be mourning, it was only after Donovan’s death that Anneliese discovered that he had stolen her life savings – and he’d been love bombing and gaslighting her throughout their entire relationship. So when a stranger shows up at Anneliese’s door claiming to be the brother Donovan never mentioned, Anneliese isn’t sure what to think. Lachlan is the spitting image of his brother, but their personalities couldn’t be more different. Not only that, but Lachlan’s appearance complicates things further – he’s claiming ownership of the house Anneliese was hoping to renovate in order to recoup her lost money. As these two wary strangers clash over their conflicting motivations, Anneliese can’t help but wonder… what if she had met Lachlan first?
This was super fast-paced and such an interesting, easy read. I loved the fact that I didn’t know where it would go next, and I also liked peeling back the layers of both characters. Anneliese fell hard and fast for Donovan and she’s unwilling to make the same mistake twice, which added some friction. I really appreciated that Anneliese didn’t have any (positive) lingering feelings for Donovan, and that Lachlan was so different. There’s also a little bit of mystery that makes things move quicker, which was both good and bad. I thought the premise was great, but the romance itself was pretty bland. Things moved quickly and were somewhat glossed over, which left me feeling emotionally unattached to the relationship. With another 50-100 pages, I think it would’ve been an easy 5-star rating for me. As it is, this ended up making for a solid binge, but probably one that won’t stay with me.
The audio was good! The runtime is ideal for bingeing, and it made the story fly by. It’s dual narration, with two narrators that I am semi-familiar with. I thought Lydia Dornet did a great job, though Nelson Hobbs was a little stiff for my liking. It worked well in the format, and the slow burn/low heat level made this a good choice for a workday listen. It definitely livened up my day, and I’m happy that I listened to the story. So a definite win overall.
Two people find love in the embers of their painful pasts in this slow-burn romance from Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw.
For me, family is a curse. My father and brother made my life hell. My mother’s untimely death still keeps me up at night. Now that my brother, Donovan, has been killed in an accident, I can forget the past.
The last remnant is the childhood home I’ve inherited—and which I intend to burn to the ground. The only obstacle? Anneliese Nielsen, Donovan’s fiancée.
Donovan left her destitute, and selling this run-down house is her only chance to recoup her losses. I shouldn’t care, but…maybe it’s her eyes when she sees me. I look strikingly like my brother, a man she loved despite everything.
So we strike a deal. We’ll renovate the house together, but she’ll have to convince me to sell—or up in flames it goes.
But the more time we spend in the house, the more its terrible history threatens to come out.
And even more dangerous, the harder I start to fall for Anneliese.
About the Author:
Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon bestselling author Winter Renshaw is a bona fide daydream believer. She lives somewhere in the middle of the USA and is rarely seen without her notebook and laptop. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. And when she’s not thinking about writing, she’s living the American dream with her husband, three kids, the laziest puggle this side of the Mississippi, and a busy pug pup that officially owes her three pairs of shoes, one lamp cord, and an office chair.
Renshaw also writes psychological and domestic suspense under her Minka Kent pseudonym. Her first book, The Memory Watcher, hit #9 in the Kindle store, and her follow-up, The Thinnest Air, hit #1 in the Kindle store and spent five weeks as a Washington Post bestseller.
She’s represented by Jill Marsal at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
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