on April 3, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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Sometimes the life you planned isn’t the one you get to live. Sometimes the pain of the past overshadows the future. And sometimes to start over you have to go back to where it all began. That’s how it was for Joe Masters. That’s how he ended up back in New Hope. And that’s why he was in his thirties and had nothing to show for his life. He needed a complete overhaul, just like his father’s old house. Instead of a fast track, he had slowed down and was on a ten year plan. These days that was more his speed. And as much as he tried to fight the inevitable, he was learning to accept and surrender.
Martha had weathered her fair share of storms in Vermont, was accustomed to the cold, both the chill in the air and the cold shoulder in her marriage, but after the miscarriage she felt like she would never get warm again. So she did the research from the laptop while sitting in front of the fireplace. She knew what she needed when she Googled ‘hope,’ she just never imagined that it would bring her to New Hope, South Carolina. She never imagined that her husband would trick her into leaving and never follow. She never imagined that a southern storm with all its force and fury could be so destructive. But after the storm, the land is washed clean. It’s perfect for a fresh start, a clean slate, and a new love.
Did I like the story? Hell yeah! It was a sweet/funny story about two broken souls who need healing. They both find each other when they weren’t looking and they help to heal each others hearts.
Martha is married to Blaine. Blaine the bastard. Blaine the a$$hole. Blaine the douche. Ugh I really don’t like Blaine. He’s having an affair with someone who’s just like him which sort of made me feel better. I mean they carry on their affair in Blaine and Martha’s marital bed. So skanky… Then Martha turns up preggo which had me questioning early on just what was going on. See Blaine totally acted as if he didn’t care about Martha and he was happy to keep up his affair with Suzette. So I didn’t understand why he was still sleeping with Martha. I mean if he was a little more loving towards Martha, acted like he cared about her maybe yea but he didn’t. He was cold and aloof and demeaning. So why were they sleeping together at all? Anyway, she ends having a miscarriage and the a$$ doesn’t even come to the hospital to visit with her. Then he finds her having a breakdown at home and he just stands there chastising her? What a jerk. I couldn’t believe it when he convinces her to move to South Carolina without him. She goes having no clue that he doesn’t plan to follow her.
Enter Joe, at first I thought I might not like his character. He seemed a little abrasive but I quickly found myself smiling at the things he said or did. I loved that he was a ginger! We don’t often find our leading men to be red heads. I loved that he wasn’t rich. In fact he had bad credit (not his fault but still). He was real to me. I loved how he interacted with Martha. I love all the bickering and teasing between the two. It felt real and it felt right. I loved how he teased Martha trying to rile her up. He took pleasure in bugging her and getting a reaction out of her. There was so much chemistry happening there between the two of them. The fight scenes were perfect. And I loved how Keely and Laurel would take Martha’s side. Even though Martha didn’t know they had her back.
My favorite part of the book happened right after Martha and Joe met.
“Taking a step back, they clumsily shook hands. The act itself was awkward, stilted, but the touch…the touch was home.”
Maybe my favorite representation of a “first” touch EVER in a book.
The first half of the book was perfect. The small town charm, Keely and Laurel, the fixer-upper house, the beach, everything. I loved how despite himself Joe wanted/needed to make Martha smile. I even loved how confused he felt over his feelings for her. He was still incredibly hurt from his previous relationship with Finn. He was still a broken man.
Notice I refer to her as Martha? I was really put out by him “deciding” that the name was old and he didn’t like it, nor did he think it suited her so he renamed her Marti. That bugged me, whether she (Martha) liked it or not. I also didn’t like how he immediately wanted to change her hair. I mean I understand what he was saying. He wanted her to want to change for the better. He felt that she had more fire in her. I just didn’t like that he felt her natural coloring didn’t suit her. Much like her name. I don’t know I just didn’t get it. It’s one thing to help a person grow and watch them as they come out of their shell and make those changes on their own. I would have been more understanding if a woman had made those suggestions. But a man? Uh Uh we don’t take it the right way. We see it as criticism of not being good enough. And well wasn’t that the problem with Blaine? She wasn’t enough for him?
But he totally redeemed himself with the charm bracelet. It was so sweet and thoughtful and I once again was leaning more towards my liking him. His interactions with Martha seemed real to me. Like when he wanted to eat BEFORE going to down to the beach even though he knew Martha wanted to go down there. She was so excited but still he wanted food. It seemed like a typical male/female interaction and he won…lol.
I absolutely loved Keely and Laurel. I thought they way they interacted with Joe was priceless at times. I found myself laughing out loud when Laurel would withhold Texas Pete and cupcakes. It was really sweet of them to recognize that Martha was hurting and they wanted to protect her.
My main issue with the story started when Martha and Joe had their first kiss. The dynamics of the story were changing big time and yet I didn’t ‘feel’ it much like they’re first make out session. First of all, why in the world would they make out in 40 degree weather and especially when they knew the nosy neighbor would interrupt. Not only does she interrupt but she hoses them down? WTH it was freezing outside. But then Martha and Joe just jump up and go their separate ways. Martha just walks through the house and leaves? Um what? And Joe doesn’t follow after her? He doesn’t yell at the neighbor? He just casually calls her on her cell and they talk? I had the same feelings after they had sex for the first time. It just felt like, I don’t know it just felt stuttered or stilted? Maybe those aren’t good words. Disconnected? Yea I like that better. It all felt disconnected. I wanted to feel more passion, I wanted them to have an incredible AHA! moment. Instead Martha kept her eyes closed and turned her head so he wouldn’t see how she felt. Um…huh? Where were the tender heartfelt moments. I mean this is the first guy outside of her a$$hold bastard husband that she’s been with. For Joe this is the first woman he’s had any real feelings for. Maybe it was the way it started. They run into the bathroom and he tells her to strip. I got excited! I was like “ok big boy” tell her what you want. Take control Joe! Then it went from strip to they were standing there naked in the dark bathroom. There was no fondling or ogling or passionate kissing that had them tumbling out and onto the floor. It was just “oh hey I have a blanket”.
Ok I need to wrap this up. Let me just say this:
This book is worth the read. It really is even with all my rambling on about what I was missing. The guts of this story is really good. It has a lot of potential. There is a bit of a cliffhanger. Yes I will totally be reading it. I’m invested in this story and I really do love both Martha and Joe. I want them to be together. I want them heal. I want them to have an HEA.
Please just give me some hope that I will see that pompous a$$ bastard Blaine fall on his face!!!