EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH ( Valentine Valley 6) by Emma Cane-a review
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 28, 2015
Emma Cane’s Valentine Valley series returns, as a teacher and her cowboy crush kindle sparks—and something more—in the town that lives up to its name…
The only thing hotter than a cowboy…
Math teacher Lyndsay De Luca never surprised anyone—least of all herself—until this summer. First, she secretly published her debut romance novel. Then, she started dating Will Sweet, the cowboy of her dreams. And now, Lyndsay’s scrambling to hide the juiciest tidbit of all: that the hazel-eyed hero of her steamy fiction is the same guy whose kisses have become her mind-blowing reality.
…Is a cowboy in love.
Ever since Will’s high-school sweetheart died in a tragic accident, he hasn’t been able to commit to a long-term relationship. Lyndsay is the first woman in years who’s been able to catch—and keep—his attention. When they team up to teach Valentine’s teens about ranch life, Will discovers it’s not just her sexy-as-hell smile that has him hooked. Will she be the one to finally break down the walls around his guarded heart?
REVIEW: EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH is the sixth installment in Emma Cane’s adult, contemporary Valentine Valley romance series focusing on a tight knit group of friends and family in and around Valentine Valley, Colorado. This is elementary school teacher and aspiring writer Lyndsay De Luca, and rancher Will Sweet’s storyline-a friends to lovers trope that finds our heroine with a heartbreaking decision. EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH can be read as a standalone without too much difficulty but for cohesion, I would suggest reading in order as the author references many previous storyline scenarios and a number of the previous storyline couples/characters play secondary and supporting roles throughout.
Told from third person point of view EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH follows a slow dance of seduction between two friends who have known one another for years. Lyndsay is a thirty something woman looking towards the future-love, happiness, marriage and family, and has been in love with Will Sweet since high school but Will’s heart and soul belonged and still belongs to another. Will has been unable to let go of the past; his high school girlfriend died as a result of a tragic accident and he has shouldered the blame and guilt for close to fifteen years. As the storyline unfolds, Lyndsay realizes that Will will never move forward until he rids himself of the burgeoning remorse and grief. When Will is unable to give Lyndsay a future, Lyndsay will walk away leaving a heartbroken Will with only his memories of the past. No woman can compete with the memory of a ghost and in this Will’s former girlfriend is always a constant presence in Will and Lyndsay’s relationship.
There are a couple of secondary storylines weaving throughout the novel. Our heroine Lyndsay prepares for the release of her first romance novel and with it comes the anxiety, hope and desperation of every new author. Trying to keep the information and book a secret is virtually impossible when the town gossips and old ladies from the Widows Boarding House as well as the gang at Tony’s Tavern appear bound and determined to promote Lyndsay at every opportunity. The bigger issue-Lyndsay’s romance hero is eerily similar to the man that she loves-Will Sweet-and Will knows nothing about the upcoming release.
EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH also follows the local elections for the Valentine Valley Historical Society wherein the elder stateswomen compete for the position of President but with it comes past betrayals and memories of stolen loves. The colorful secondary and supporting characters play a continuous role wherein the reader is reintroduced to old friends, family and future loves.
The storyline and thusly the relationship between Will and Lyndsay is very slow to build. Lyndsay knows from the outset that Will is not capable of finding happiness with any other woman than the one that he lost, and in this her time with Will is heartbreakingly futile. Will’s grief and overwhelming guilt is all encompassing but fifteen years of guilt for an accident of which he was not responsible has affected his relationship with family, friends and all of the women with whom he has dated. In this, Will’s constant need to emotionally beat-up himself came across as unnecessary and self sacrificing. There is only so much misdirected guilt, self-depricating and whining before the reader no longer feels sympathy towards said character.
EVER AFTER AT SWEETHEART RANCH is an ensemble storyline of building romance, letting go and falling in love. In the end, the relationship issue resolved itself very quickly and in this, I was a little disappointed that through it all, I believe, Will has yet to truly come to terms with the death of his girlfriend and how it has affected his entire life and the lives of everyone he loves. I wish Lyndsay all the best in her HEA with Will Sweet.
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Copy supplied by Edelweiss
Reviewed by Sandy