The part of the book that is the actual romance is great but the majority of the book is a lot of other stuff.
Apparently there is an entire Blueberry Cove series but this is my first book in the series and my first book by this author. I can tell you that you don’t need to read any of the other books to follow this one so if you are concerned, don’t be. I don’t often venture into small town romance because I’m too much of a big city lover so take everything I say with that bias in mind.
Plot in super fast rewind: Hannah returns to Blueberry Cove (which I totally imagine to be like Abbot Cove from ‘Murder She Wrote’…yeah yeah, I’m over 30) after some drama in her urban lawyer DC life disrupted her plans of world domination (to which all lawyers aspire). Calder is in Blueberry trying to untangle an ages old family feud involving his family. The two meet during an unceremonious traffic accident and keep meeting on accident/purpose (not sure which) as Hannah prepares for her brother’s wedding in the Cove and Calder keeps waiting for meetings with people who are constantly pushing them back (seriously). There is an immediate attraction between the two and all kinds of erroneous assumptions and defenses start flying in all directions. The bottom line is that Calder wants Hannah and she has to work through her emotional trauma caused by a recent failed (in an epic way) relationship.
I really really liked the character depiction of both Calder and Hannah in this book. Calder is the kind of alpha male with a really good heart that gets me every time. He is steady and consistent in his pursuit of Hannah even though his desire for her doesn’t completely make sense to him. Hannah was the best balance of tough, logical and soft that I love in heroines. Hannah had some very reasonable defense mechanisms erected as the result of her life circumstances but they weren’t overplayed in the plot. There was just enough angst on her part to make sense in the context of her experiences but not so much that it became annoying melodrama.
I also enjoyed the development of the relationship between Calder and Hannah. I guess I should say that I enjoyed that the relationship was developed. There was insta attraction in this book but there was also dialogue between the main characters as they developed an understanding of each other. Both Calder and Hannah initially misunderstood each other but their actual interactions with each other formed the basis for their relationship. This is great because we the readers get to know the characters and can identify with what draws them together.
Now for what I didn’t like so much- there is entirely too much character introspection and too much information about all the subplots in the book. Let’s start with the subplots: there is a wedding, a family feud, an arson, the harbor development, Hannah’s siblings and the townspeople. For each of these subplots, there are several pages dedicated to explaining and exploring them. By the time all is said and done, I estimate that like 30% of the book is devoted to the subplots in the story. My main issue is that the subplots seemed like totally separate stories. I didn’t feel like they did anything to further my understanding of the relationship between Hannah and Calder so you know what that means- you start skimming. The subplots were actually kind of interesting for what they were but if you are reading this book for the romance aspect, there is a real potential to get bored with all the other stuff. Here is a good example, at one point Calder is meeting with the Mayor who gives him insight on the Blue family feud and tells him all about his daughter and her hopes and dreams for life. While I was reading it, I made a note to myself which said “I do NOT care about this.” And that pretty much sums it up.
As for the introspection, OMG, Hannah and Calder think way more than I want to know about. There are several sections of the book where there are pages and pages of introspection. That always leads to one thing- boredom. You just don’t want to read about the main characters obsessing over the same issues over and over. Even if we do this in real life, we don’t want to read about it. If you add the long period of introspection to the subplots, like 60% of this book is NOT about the relationship between Hannah and Calder. That’s why I’m going with 3 stars instead of 4 stars. As good as this book was (and it is actually good), not enough of it was about the story that I wanted to be reading.
**ARC provided by Publisher**