Reviewed: February 2, 2011
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A ~ Non-Series
Rating: 3 stars
Length: 384 Pages
Format: Print, eBook
California girl Hope Spencer blows into the small northwest town of Gospel, Idaho for a six month stay, hoping to break through her writer's block and to clear out of L.A. until the dust settles from a legal battle that ended in her getting a restraining order against a stalker. Sheriff Dylan Taber takes one look at the flashy car and flashier woman and bets his deputy that the delectable Ms. Spencer won't last a week.
Gossip is about as far removed from California as it can possibly be, and Hope feels like she just set down on a different planet, but the colorful townspeople stir her creative juices and soon she's submitting fresh articles for The Weekly News of the Universe, making her editor very happy. It may be the sort of newspaper that publishes fiction about bigfoot sightings and alien abductions, but she likes it, and she's happy to be productive again.
Happier to have met the gorgeous sheriff, who stirs more than just her creative juices. For the first time in so long, Hope doesn't feel the pressing weight of loneliness, and as she and Dylan get closer and closer, she starts to wonder if maybe she can trust him with some things she's been keeping secret. Dylan, though, has his own secrets, and his life revolves around protecting his seven year old son. No matter how close he and Hope become, there are things he hasn't told her, things he hasn't told anyone. But when he suddenly becomes aware of some of the secrets Hope has been harboring, he realizes that there's no way he can trust the woman - there's too much at risk...and way too much to lose.
They're made for each other, but in this case, that may just not be enough.
True Confessions hits several good notes, and Rachel Gibson writes a smooth narrative with a colorful and quirky backdrop of scenery and secondary characters. From a stylistic standpoint, I have no complaints. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, this story just didn't resonate with me. I had problems with both the plot and the characters, and though it was easy to see that Gibson has a lot of talent as an author, this one missed the mark for me because of it.
I found both Hope and Dylan difficult to like consistently through the story. Hope was a little too much of a stereotype rather than a unique character, the girly-girl that screams and flees from bats and always has the perfect hair, perfect makeup, perfect nails. Through the book her aversion to the great outdoors and lack of genuine appreciation for nature and the majestic scenery around her started to wear on me. I also had a big problem with the ease at which she kept secrets and flat out lied to people. In fact, she lied to everyone she spoke to, in one form or another, for one reason or another. And Dylan wasn't much better, though I certainly understood his desire to protect his son.
Not surprising that the lack of truth and trust were big issues on the rocky road to HEA, but I still felt that the book kept missing the point with its focus and "resolution." Like despite the happy ending, too much was left unaddressed or really dealt with, and too much skimmed over (like Adam). There was also a plot thread or two left dangling. That left me feeling like there were a few too many missed opportunities.
At turns, both characters acted with more than bit of hypocrisy, and I still don't understand why Hope was so tolerant while Dylan was hiding their relationship from the town. Being a man's dirty little secret isn't my idea of a good time. Their attraction started out mostly superficial, and while it did deepen, the readers weren't allowed to see that as it happened, more told about it in summary. That's a shame. I enjoy watching a relationship develop and evolve from attraction to something deeper. I would've enjoyed seeing the same with Hope and Dylan.
True Confessions isn't a bad book. It's just one of those books that seemed a little off note to me, and most of that was because of personal reading preference. I have no doubt that many would thoroughly enjoy it. I liked Gibson's writing style, so this book certainly didn't turn me off ever reading anything else she's written. I just didn't connect very well with this particular story and these particular characters. It happens.
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