You know that series or that book that’s just…it for you? You know, that one that feels like it was written with you in mind? You might not even be able to put your finger on why you feel that way about it, you just…do.
This is that series for me. Reading these books is like going home.
I was lucky enough to beta read this one and I was so serious about it going in because it was my first time and I really wanted to do a good job. I was going to take copious notes, try to record any potential editing misses I found, give great feedback on the things that worked for me and those that didn’t and just be the Best Damn Beta Reader Ever.
And then I picked it up and that thing that happens every time I read a book in this series happened. Notepad? Forgotten. Pen? Dragged away by one of the cats. The rest of the world? Psssh, what world? So I’m sorry Tab, I really tried this time but I just can’t be trusted to critique your work in any sort of productive way. The best I seem to come up with is words and phrases like “GAH”, “SQUEEEEE” and “Om nom nom”.
I just…I just love this family too damn much and your writing is too enthralling for me to remember to pause and write down notes like "he went to her house, they fought".
For those of you keeping track, each book in this series revolves around a different member of the Campbell clan. Dragonfly Creek centers on Ben, one of the sons of Sarah and Owen. Five years ago he had his heart broken by a young woman named Ainsley and this story is about their reconnection.
Where to even start with them? Good God, nothing is what it first seems in this book.
I loved Ben just as much as I did the other Campbell men I’ve met but I’m sure everyone saw that coming. He’s his father's son in so many ways. He has that same casual sexiness that I just find so damn appealing. Not only that but he’s charming, able to recognize and acknowledge his emotions (I know, right?), has a great sense of humor and he’s pretty easy on the eyes to boot.
Unlike Ben, I was all keyed up to hate Ainsley because how dare she mess with one of the Campbell boys?! But then I met her mother.
That. Woman. Grrrrrrrr.
She makes Cruella Deville look like a PETA campaigner. I can’t even begin to describe the depths of her depravity and so I won’t because I really don’t want to subject you to a three page long, f-bomb laden rant about she who will not be named. Needless to say, her treatment of her daughter pretty much guaranteed that I was on Ainsley’s side from the get-go.
She and Ben’s road to closure isn’t a smooth one but what I love about T.L. Haddix so much is that she can take themes that usually irritate me and do them right. Not only that but she covers them with a depth befitting their severity. Because of this, these characters feel real. They have real relationships, real problems and real conversations, some of which are awkward, some of which are heartbreaking and some of which are hysterical.
Plus, she writes great sex. Good lawd, the chemistry between these two!
In addition to the relationship of the main characters we see the overarching bond of the Campbells as a family. I love them like they’re real. I feel like I am a Campbell in a lot of ways. I too was born in a rural mountainous town. There are also five children in my family, none of which can mind their damn business, and we all love and support each other to the best of our abilities. I love that their family dynamic plays such a strong role in this series and with every new volume, I get more and more excited to learn about the other children, whose stories are to come in future installments…
*looks at calendar*
*dying whale noise*
In closing, I love this series, I really do, and I urge you to pick up the first book and discover it for yourself.