Author: Elizabeth Dunk
Published: August 1st 2013
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*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review*
From the author of Arranged to Love comes a romantic story of forgiveness, secrets, small towns and second chances.
Ten years ago, Todd Lansing stood over his father’s grave, his heart thumping out curses on Sia Collins for causing his death. When he returns to Oberon and sees Sia again, his heart thumps with a different emotion, one he fights with all the anger he still feels.
Sia didn’t commit the break-in that ended up killing Mr Lansing, but to admit that would send her father to jail. She has rebuilt her life in the small town, atoned for her accused crime, and carved out a niche using her talent with paint to reach out to the community, raise funds, and support her family.
When Todd finds out the truth, he can’t understand why Sia won’t speak out and clear her name, and it threatens to tear them apart. With her relationship with Todd on the line, will Sia choose loyalty or love?
Snagged it from Netgalley and was excited to dig into an Aussie novel. I don't remember when was the last time I read something by an Australian author. About a year ago, perhaps? I was extremely pumped for this story since the synopsis sounded awesome and come on! These are the type of stories I like when it comes to romance novels.
"Todd." Paul touched his arm. Todd shook it away. "Bro, it was ten years ago. You've got to get over it."
"Not until Sia Collins suffers the way I have."
It was a vow.
The story. Sia is a young artist who has plead guilty to a crime she didn't commit. Why did she do that? Oh, let's see.. She was trying to protect her awful father. Tod was a friend of Sia's 10 years ago and they even had a hint of a romance between them. When Tod's dad died, he though it was because of what Sia did. The crime she didn't commit. Only Tod doesn't know she wasn't at fault in any of this so he begins to hate her and the hate hasn't gone anywhere when he returns to take care of his sick mother and their paths cross again.
My thoughts. Sia and Tod as characters were good and I enjoyed wtaching both of them grow. What I liked best in this story were the side characters--Sia's friends who were adorable and just the kind of friends everyone would love to have. Sia's dad was so intolerateable that I wanted to puke every time he came up. He beat Sia, bullied her verbally, was drunk most of the time throughout the novel and had 3 kids in addition to Sia who she had to raise. He even tried to sabotage her career by trying to set fire on her paitings. He was disgusting as a father figure and as a human being. Props for Ms. Dunk for making me loathe a character that much. I also liked the dual POV a lot.
What I didn't enjoy was how everything felt rushed. I think it was in ch. 3 when Tod realized the mistake he had done by accusing Sia in everything and the story got off to fast-speeding through the plot. I didn't have time to connect with the characters. I'm the first one to admit that fast-paced stories are good and I enjoy them, but sometimes slow build makes me care more. Some of the revelations didn't exactly make sense to me either, although I was taken aback by some of them. Oh, and the smexy scenes were hawwwttt!!! ;-)
All in all, it's a decent book with some flaws, but they can be easily repaired in future books by Elizabeth. I felt the potential she has in her as a writer and I will definitely pick up something more by her in the future. Her characters are imperfect, but redeemable, and the storyline kept surprising me. It's sad that I wasn't able to connect more with the characters, but better luck next time!
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars