Not Much There There When I saw this book on a favorite book review site, I liked that it featured an older couple, one in their late forties. I don't think that middle-age is used nearly often enough in contemporary romances. Unfortunately, though, while I liked both the primary characters, I felt like the story didn't have any true tension or conflict as well as had other issues. When the author first presents us with the hero, he is refreshing flowers at his wife's grave. She died six years ago from cancer, and he appeared to not have gotten over it. So I figured his main conflict would be relatively straightforward. But I was surprised when he actually asked the heroine out on a date the second time that they meet in the book. That just seems out of character for what the author was supposedly building. Both halves of a couple have lost a spouse, the heroine decades ago, but she focused on her son and didn't have much of a life beyond him and work. She's just starting to get back into the dating scene now that he’s left home and has a rather unpleasant first meeting with someone from a dating site. Both the hero and the heroine have adult children who are encouraging them to date. The problem with this book is that their relationship runs hot and cold, more so than most contemporary romances. The hot isn't terribly hot, but the cold is friend zone icy. So that makes the entire romance very tepid. The hero treats the heroine well when he sees her, but they don't necessarily see each other often, sometimes because of his issues and sometimes because of hers or just random plot events. At times, the couple did not have a lot of shared screen time. For me, that is essential in a romance. A romance can't build unless the couple is together. This book came across more as middle-aged people trying to figure out their lives rather than a romance. There was one thing I absolutely hated. Especially at the beginning, the heroine seemed overly focused on her weight and appearance. For goodness’ sake, she is in her late forties. Are we never to be allowed to not worry about this? She was concerned about eating occasional ice cream and cookies (which the hero actually made and brought to her) as well as lamenting her size-14 body. Seriously? A size 14 considered fat? I think of that as being normal sized. For all these reasons, this book failed to meet my expectations of what a contemporary romance should be and what a romance between a couple who is beyond the age of 30 should be. I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.
Home Sweet Home is the second book in the Three Creeks Series (Three Creeks, Montana). I loved this story about an over-40 woman trying to tread the waters of the dating pool again. The characters are sweet, likable, and realistic. The storyline is well written and enjoyable, engaging my interest from start to finish with dating in a small town, communication problems, ups and downs, and a chance for a new romance. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.