Imagine getting ready to finally consummate your relationship with one of the sexiest men you have ever met that just happens to be seven years younger and the sheriff of the town. You've worked up to this moment, the time is finally here, you are ready for it, anticipation hums in the air, finally, finally it is going to happen, and then wham. . . his parents show up unexpectedly before you can do the deed! Welcome to North of Clever, the continuing saga of Hannah Garvey, Sheriff David Hendrickson, and the over the hill gang of the exclusive retirement community of Valhalla Springs.
As luck would have it, Hannah and David are interrupted before the big moment. Some people have all the rotten luck. Now are you ready for a nice, quiet little story? Don't be, things are never what you expect when dealing with Susann Ledbetter's stories. Have no fear; things run amok in Hannah and David's relationship when the circus comes to town. Sheriff David is continuing to campaign for his bid to be reelected as sheriff of Sanity, Missouri. His opponent is a good for nothing good old boy who promises to deliver the moon and stars to the good citizens while making mountains out of molehills the little things that have happened lately in their town while David is in lust with Hannah. David, needing some goodwill from the townspeople, goes to see the visiting circus and takes Hannah along. It should be a day of fun and goodwill. Right? As usual, life isn't simple with our heroine and hero. Who does Hannah just happen to meet at the circus? Her long lost father who turns out to be none other than Reilly Boone, former star magician. He is now the husband-assistant of the lady illusionist AnnaLeigh who just happens to be built like a centerfold and isn't exactly what you call the faithful wife. During their performance the lovely, two-timing AnnaLeigh bites the dust as their bullet-catch trick turns out to be the real thing and she ends up dead. Reilly is charged with murder and Hannah and the over the hill gang race to prove his innocence.
This is a fun book to read; however, it doesn't quite manage to hit all the high notes as the two previous books. I can't really put my finger on what isn't right in the story. While the over the hill gang played their part, it seems like they don't have much to do with the plot as they have in the two previous books until the end. There wasn't as much emphasis placed on Hannah and David's relationship throughout the story. Beginning and ending are pure Hannah and David, but in the middle they don't really work together as they have done in the past. Don't get me wrong, it's still a good book. I guess I was just a little disappointed it didn't have the same feel as the two previous books.
However, hats off to Suzann Ledbetter for generating anticipation for the fourth book, West of Bliss in July 2002. Wouldn't you just know it, David finally pops the big question to Hannah and we are left with no answer until the next book. Like any other loyal fan, I will be waiting for it just to see what kind of trouble can follow our gang over a simple marriage proposal. With this gang, no telling what is in store for us!