I wish I could give this book ten stars it was so AMAZING. I started listening to this book on audio and I was so interested in the characters and the plot that I jumped for joy when I saw I had an e-galley of it. Needless to say it was so incredibly beautiful. I cried the first 20% of the book. When I started reading it I was so exhausted and when I realized the time it was 1 AM!!
I’ve read Brenda Novak before so I kind of expect her heroine to be a certain way. Her heroines are usually outcasts of society and women down on their luck. This was Phoenix all the way. But I absolutely loved her. She was the kindest and most loving person. I could not help crying for her and her struggle. Unjustly accused of the death of one of her classmates, Phoenix spends seventeen years in prison. Not only that but she finds out she is pregnant and never gets a chance to see her son after he is born. Instead of making her angry and bitter, Phoenix comes out determined to prove herself, and if he is willing, become a part of her son’s life-Jacob.
I have to confess that the hero-Riley Fuller took me longer to like. I get that they were both young when two big things happened 1) they found out they were having a baby and 2) she was sent to prison. But I really wanted to inflict some harm on Riley. He was the golden boy who had everything handed to him on a silver spoon. He had so many prejudices against Phoenix all because of what people around him thought. Phoenix’s life was very far from ideal. She grew up with a mother that did not take care of her and had her own physiological issues. I also understand that his parents pressured him to break up with Phoenix when they were still only 18 but in the 17 years she was in prison he never took their son to see her. He also kept letters from him that Phoenix wrote to Jacob. It broke my heart. This book was just one big open wound for me. But I LOVED IT! I loved Phoenix and her determination to make a life for herself. She was so careful not to push her son and was always walking on egg shells so she wouldn’t cause any problems for the people she loved. This is one of my favorite stories. I will re-read this book and I already have recommended it to my friends and anyone that will speak to me.
Even though I didn’t think Riley deserved Phoenix and I wanted Novak to make him suffer a little, I loved Riley and Phoenix together. I was so happy with when they finally got their much deserved happily-ever-after. I loved their chemistry and I loved the pacing of the story. I also like that Riley finally does so much overdue “manning” up. The characters from the previous books appear and add to the warm and inviting feel of Whiskey Creek. I also really loved Jacob. I thought he was such a sweet kid and loved the banter he shared with his father. Now that I have some time off to look forward to, I might just sit and binge on all the “Whiskey Creek” books. So far, I have not read one that I did not enjoy.