American heiress Amelia Hathaway needs to start anew. Her husband cheated on her, and when everything she wanted in life slipped through her fingers, she fell apart. When she did, she took another heart wrenching hit as she lost the respect of her children. When her ex took her family from California to live in the small town of Magdalene in Maine, Amelia decided it was time to sort herself out. In order to do that and win her children back, she moves to Cliff Blue, an architectural masterpiece on the rocky coast of Magdalene. Her boxes aren’t even unpacked when she meets Mickey Donovan, a man who lives across the street, a man so beautiful Amelia takes one look at Mickey and knows she wants it all from him. The problem is, she finds out swiftly that he's friendly, he's kind, but he doesn’t want everything back. Amelia struggles to right past wrongs in her life at the same time find out who she wants to be. She also struggles with her attraction to the handsome firefighter who lives across the street. But Amelia will face a surprise when her friendly neighbor becomes not-so-friendly. As Amelia and Mickey go head to head, Amelia must focus on winning back the hearts of her children. She soon discovers she also must focus on winning the heart of a handsome firefighter who understands down to his soul that the beautiful heiress who lives across the street is used to a life he cannot provide.
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It is difficult to empathise with the 47 year old h, who lives on trust funds, has never held a job, and behaved so badly that her kids resented having to spend two days a month with her. At one point she mused that having “only” $25 million left might mean she would have to rein in her spending! Although she was now trying to rebuild her life as a “new” person, she had lost her kids after three years of consistent bad behaviour so this epiphany came too late for me to warm to her. Ironically, she then eagerly adopts the role of caring mother figure to the kids of the H (while her own kids will barely speak to her) and with glorious hypocrisy, has the gall to get angry at the antics of their alcoholic mother (pot – kettle – black??), while failing to notice her own daughter had become a school bully.
Meanwhile the H was just as unappealing. It’s hard to respect someone who had spent 15 years doing a job he hated, supervising the production of sub-standard work for unhappy customers, and yet somehow thinks he holds no responsibility for this. Especially when it turns out that he has easy access to funds to start his own business, and later makes a few phone calls to finally “claim” his $15 million inheritance. He was so obsessed with being a fire fighter that it seemed everything else came second in his life. He didn’t hesitate to introduce his kids, without question, to a woman who had lost custody of her own children (Unlike previous KA macho men who avoid introducing a new woman into their kid’s lives until they know the relationship is serious). He conveniently absolved her of all responsibility for losing her kids by blaming her cheating ex and neglectful parents, and declared it was ok to go of the rails for three years (yeah, that’s THREE years) because your husband dumps you for another woman. Furthermore, on hearing that his own daughter may have been mistreated at school, he tells his girlfriend (reminder – the woman who had LOST CUSTODY OF HER OWN KIDS) to deal with it and not tell him the details as he couldn’t handle it!
Overall, however, I think the biggest issue with this romance is that it just never sizzled. The first opportunity they have to spend a night together the H announces he is “wiped” and having an early night. This does not exactly overwhelm the reader with sexual tension! I remember the hot verbal sparring between Max and Nina in The Gamble, but here we got pointless and immature bickering and silly misunderstandings like a pair of teenagers. The actual story dragged along, with nothing really happening. It was like reading the h’s diary, with lots of “telling” rather than “showing”, and endless over-analysing like a naive teenager. I love that KA writes about older couples, not many authors have the guts to do this, but here the couple were simply too unlikable for me to care. In fact by the end of the story I actually liked both of their ex’s better. The ex-wife was shocked into changing her behaviour by the threat of losing custody of her kids (unlike the h!), and the ex-husband may have been a serial adulterer, but he was a great father and never walked away from his kids. In fact when it seemed he may lose them, he dumped the latest girlfriend to stop this happening.
I eventually finished this amazingly long book but I think this series is not for me. I read the first one on my kindle and simply cannot remember anything about it. I think I prefer it when KA writes a stronger plot line. Frustratingly, this book had many issues touched on but left unfinished: Serious, vicious bullying was glossed over and then solved with unrealistic ease, the motivation of the h’s parents never explained, the reason the h over reacted so badly to the end of her marriage was never really justified, the reason for the brother’s marriage problems never revealed, the arson case left unsolved, the husband’s “sexual harassment” issues not dealt with, and why was it that the kids didn’t care when their dad cheated on their mum, and moved them away from her, but were seriously upset when he cheats on the second wife? What exactly did she do to lose custody, and why did she not let her expert lawyer use dirt on the husband to prevent this happening?
In the end I was left feeling a little cheated. This book is seriously long, so it is weird that so little actually happened and so many questions were left unanswered.
I have read a few of Kristen's books and have really enjoyed the stories but do not intend buying anymore. I know I am old fashioned and not up to modern ways but I do not enjoy the bad language she constantly uses. Does she speak like that?. I don't see the need for it and it offends my ears. Occasionally it is acceptable but all the time is a big " no no " for me. Sorry! I know my opinion does not affect the way she writes. Enjoyed Hollis McCarthy's narration.