Author: Beverly Barton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 353
Published: Zebra Books, January 27, 2015
Mary Beth Caine has always been the good girl in her small Mississippi town. But when a big, protective, shamelessly sexy stranger offers to console her on the night of her disastrous engagement party, Mary Beth lets him–only to discover that Parr Weston also happens to be the older brother of her fiancé, Bobby Joe.
Parr left Mississippi after years spent holding his family together. Now that he’s back, he can’t steal Bobby Joe’s woman, and he sure can’t offer Mary Beth the tidy happily-ever-after she deserves. But everything about the petite beauty–from her flame-gold hair to her artless sensuality–makes him crave her more. Love or lust, right or wrong, all he knows is that nothing has ever felt like this before, and walking away will be the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. . .
I honestly, honestly don’t know where to start with this book. I think the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ was meant for this one. You guys know I can be shallow at times when it comes to covers, and I admit I was first attracted to this book because of it. Reading its plot-and even though yours truly isn’t much of a fan of love triangles- I wanted to give it a chance. Unfortunately though, it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.
I love small town romances. The southern charm. It usually feels like home to me, these people connecting with each other and being a big family. Sadly for me, the characters in this book lacked that southern charm that I was looking forward to. The hero and the heroine were not likable people at all. They meet while the heroine, Mary Beth, is engaged to the hero’s younger brother, and though I could understand an undeniable spark that they had to fight-and eventually lose- against, but they made things out in such a way that not only I couldn’t feel sorry for their predicament, but also I secretly wished some sense would be knocked into them.
Mary Beth, for starters, wasn’t a woman I’d call a good heroine. In romance, strong and independent women are important, but Mary Beth was neither strong, nor independent. In fact, her existence in the short while we get to know her, seemed to revolve around the two brothers. But mostly on Parr, really. She’s back and forth between both emotionally-and at times physically- cheating on her fiancé, and her unjustified and meaningless sense of duty to the same fiancé who she suspects is cheating on her. And half the time I didn’t know what she was doing and why. Not for one moment I felt sorry for her, being in between two brothers. She was clueless not in a naive way, and the few times she seemed standing up for herself, I didn’t know what she was fighting for. That’s a big problem if I can’t connect with the female lead. When reading these books, like we all do, I look for a woman I can relate to and root for, not just to get the guy in the end, but also to find her strength and her own voice throughout the story. I’d like to see a change for the better for these people, for them to heal if they have wounds and problems, for them to be the better versions of how they started out. Mary Beth and Parr? They were exactly the same in the end as they were in the beginning. I don’t want to have that.
As for Parr individually, he was supposed to be the responsible older brother, the one who took care of everything, the one, probably, to make a sacrifice in falling for and letting go of his brother’s fiancé-albeit unsuccessfully- but he came off as a selfish, one dimensional character. His brother was no saint mind you, but still, with his self centered personality and cheating ways, he was the better of the three if you can believe that. But he didn’t have much page time anyway.
Apart from my disappointment with the two leads, I wish I could say that I still got that homey feeling of being in a small town, of everyone knowing everyone else’s business and that nosy neighbor thing, but alas, that didn’t happen either.
The plot went nowhere, again, half the time I didn’t know what was happening. We spent a little too much time being dictated the characters’ movements rather than delving into their psyche. This way, I felt like they only moved around until it was the end and time to say goodbye.
I’m sorry to say, I couldn’t enjoy my time with Mary Beth and Parr, and couldn’t feel for their romance. I’m adding one spoonful of this story into my hodgepodge and wish them happiness, but I hardly think I’ll visit them again.
Other titles by Beverly Barton:
- Every Move She Makes
- Don’t Cry (Don’t Cry #1)
- After Dark (Griffin Powell #1)