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Feature book: When You Least Expect It

23 September 2020

When You Least Expect It by Helen Lacey

Series: The Culhanes of Cedar River #1
Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 19 Aug 2019
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Format: ebook and print
Length: 224 pages
RRP: $5.99 (ebook); $11.99 (print)

Don’t you just love a second chance at love story? I do! First loves are strong and life-changing and cover a lot of emotional ground. They may or may not make it through to a HEA, but the force is strong to do so. When You Least Expect It tackles just that …

This is the first book in a new series, The Culhanes of Cedar River, by Helen Lacey. A continuing issue with me about a new series is how authors introduce the ‘family’ to readers—here it is obviously the Culhanes—and then the set up for further books. In this case I felt the info was slightly overfull with minor characters—cousins, slightly more distant family, friends and community—who may or may not eventually have their turn as stars on the page.

Helen Lacey has clearly plotted these books to the nth degree—well done, Helen—and must have a character bible linking everyone. For readability’s sake I might have appreciated a little less of these others and more focus on the Culhanes. And yet—the community of Cedar River is taking shape because of this careful crafting …

This book features Mitch Culhane, family patriarch by default, and his ex-wife Tess Fuller. The story between these two is fairly complicated, and well written. Mitch became the patriarch of his family when a tragedy occurred and he had to step in to keep his family together, even though he was young himself at the time. Mitch is tough, strong, an excellent hero with big shoulders, and runs the Triple C ranch with success and huge pleasure. But even as the ranch thrives, his marriage to Tess fell apart. The reasons are so sad. I felt rather misty-eyed when it was explained. Everyone will have such a heart for Tess, I’m sure. Things really did go terribly wrong.

Sadly, they divorced. However, that heated spark is still there between them, and neither has really been able to move on. When they meet at a function, they have one explosive night together … which results in a precious pregnancy. Nobody is more surprised than Mitch when Tess suddenly turns up visibly pregnant and tells him he’s the father. Tess is terrified but resolute; it has taken a while for her to screw up the courage to come back to Mitch.

The story of their difficult road back together is honest, raw, and lovely to read. You’ll be supporting them every step of the way.

What a lovely start to this new series!

reviewed by Malvina

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

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