Sun Kissed Mass Market Paperback – 2 Jan 2007
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"Emotionally involving, family-centered, and relationship-oriented."--Library Journal
"Poignant...romantic through and through."--Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Catherine Anderson lives in the Oregon mountains with her husband and her Rottweilers, Sam and Sassy, who seem convinced that they are teacup poodles and that obedience training is for people. Catherine spends leisure time with her family and friends, including her sons and daughter-in-law, often discussing intriguing story twists for her books. Such talks can draw curious stares if they happen to take place in a restaurant and involve plotting the demise of a fictitious villain.
An award-winning author of twenty published works, Catherine is currently working on her next full-length romance for Onyx.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Part of Anderson's Coulter family series, the stand-alone "Sun Kissed" deals with Tucker Coulter, a rising equine vet in Crystal Falls. Through some pretty unusual happenstance, he meets Samantha Harrigan over a battle with a mean drunk beating a horse. Though drawn to him, Samantha doesn't think she's going to see him again until a rash of horse poisonings on her ranch cause her to turn to him in desperation for help. As both work through the poisonings and other issues including insurance fraud and jealousy, attraction and affection grow.
Stereotyped plot? Yep. But Anderson made it work in many ways. First, I liked that the relationship between Tucker and Samantha was more about friendship and shared interests, with physical attraction thrown in for extra filip. This goes in direct contrast with a lot of romance authors today, who slap the attraction on the pages first and then remember that maybe it would be a good idea for the man and woman to have a couple of other things in common other than torrid sex (by the way, I say this as someone who writes steamy romance under a pseudonym).
Second, I was touched by Samantha's deep religious faith, and Tucker's respect for that faith. I didn't find it at odds that Samantha could be so attracted physically to Tucker, while adhering to old-fashioned values of waiting until matrimony, except for one very passionate scene -- again, kudos to Anderson for doing well on this issue.
Third, I appreciated that Samantha was far from the stereotyped "battered woman." Samantha, who underwent abuse from her first husband, could have ended up as someone who hated men and who shied away from any kind of physical relationship. While she was certainly skittish with Tucker, she didn't automatically fall into assuming he was cut from the same cloth as her ex. Spousal abuse issues aren't as black-and-white as the media makes them out to be, and Anderson demonstrated that very well through Samantha's character.
Fourth, Anderson's main characters were likeable. Samantha is an appealing blend of innocence and strength and the good news is, I didn't feel the need to shake her to face reality as I do with some heroines. Tucker, too, is a great guy -- though far from perfect. While restraint of his sensual urges might have seemed a little too good to be true, it isn't out of the ordinary on the part of many men.
And finally, I really appreciated that the reader didn't have to be familiar with Anderson's other books to read this one. One of my pet peeves is to HAVE to read a book to understand what's going on in a sequel. It never happened here -- a reader can pick up "Sun Kissed" and get a good, stand-alone story.
My one major gripe with this book was, as I mentioned above, the cover design. It did nothing to show a potential reader what might be inside. What the heck was going on with the white flowers on the pink background? And by the way, what's the deal with Samantha in a white, lacey dress and a straw hat on the sleeve? Samantha never put on a dress throughout the entire book, except at the very end. The visual depiction wasn't consistent with her character.
But if a reader doesn't judge this book by its cover, "Sun Kissed" is a good example of how a romance can focuse on aspects outside of the bedroom -- and still work very well.
When Samantha Harrigan attends the local rodeo, she doesn't expect to wind up in jail. But that's precisely what happens when she tries to stop a drunkard from abusing his horse. At least she isn't alone. Tucker Coulter, a handsome local veterinarian, comes to her defense--and is arrested too.
The charges are dropped, but Sam's troubles have only started. Her champion quarter horses are falling ill and the culprit is poison. As the insurance beneficiary, Sam is the prime suspect. Unswayed by the rumors floating around town, Tucker offers to help prove her innocence. Sam, though, is uneasy about accepting his assistance--and about the way he makes her feel. If only she could believe in him the way he seems to believe in her...
And my review:
Catherine Anderson is firmly on my auto-buy list. I've yet to read a book by her that I didn't like. SUN KISSED was no exception.
I was a little worried if I'd like this story, since I hadn't really liked Tucker in his previous appearances in other "Coulter" books, but Catherine Anderson made him loveable here. It should also be noted that you don't have to have read any of the other books in the series to enjoy SUN KISSED, although it does add a lot, of course. Other Coulter books are (in order): PHANTOM WALTZ, SWEET NOTHINGS, BLUE SKIES, BRIGHT EYES, MY SUNSHINE, and now SUN KISSED. (Also, BABY LOVE (a sort of prequel to phantom waltz) and the two historicals KEEGAN'S LADY and SUMMER BREEZE are linked to the Coulter family series--just to keep it confusing!) And this isn't the last of them! There are more books planned, and I look forward to reading them all.
I'm usually reluctant to read series of "family" books, since they often start to all sound the same. And while there are similarities (the heros are almost identical in appearance; the heroines always tiny), the stories are all enjoyable, and I recommend them all.
Being Catholic myself, I really liked how the heroine was Catholic. I, for one, felt that the religion issue was handled wonderfully, and that it wasn't over-the-top at all. But if you're easily offended by that sort of thing, maybe it will bother you. Still, it's not really an integral part of the story. The main themes are the romance and the mystery. Unfortunately, the mystery wasn't exactly groundbreaking. I had the whole thing figured out pretty quickly (even the twist at the end).
I only gave this book four stars, because I think that Catherine Anderson has done it better (especially the mystery part), so I expect a lot out of her. But I can still whole-heartedly recommend this book, especially if you're an animal lover. Also, check out her very best books, which are (in my humble opinion): ANNIE'S SONG, BABY LOVE, SEVENTH HEAVEN, PHANTOM WALTZ, COMANCHE MOON, and ONLY BY YOUR TOUCH. I've read this author's entire backlist (apart from her very early Harlequin Intrigue books) and every single story has been a keeper.
I recommend SUN KISSED to all romance readers, especially lovers of western romance, and animal lovers. The strong family-oriented theme of this book is truly heartwarming, as are the issues of a woman learning to trust again.
It is NOT!!
She is going to be doing a book for each of the 4 brothers of Samantha..
The Kendricks and The Coulters will be showing back up..
Now, for the book..
IT was wonderful!
I didn't mind the struggle with the religion for most of us have the same struggle.
I loved the comedy in it and chuckled at various times throughout...
This is a wonderful book by Catherine ANderson...I am a mega fan of hers and have almost all her books..
She DID NOT disappoint at all!!
It was a warm and funny book..with the exception of the tears I shed with a few episodes.
Sorry can't reveal.. read the book...
I also disagree with the reviewer who thought there wasn't enough other Coulters in the story. Jake was great at the beginning and there was a lot of fun interaction between Tucker and Isaiah. The scene with Tucker asking for advice of his parents was hilarious. And I can't forget the scene with Jake's daughter and Tucker. That was pure Catherine Anderson magic.
I am sorry the Coulters are done. They were all great. This one is not to be missed. Sun Kissed will go on my keeper shelf!
***** You can bank on Catherine Anderson for telling a sweet romance that could almost, but not quite be placed in the inspirational category. I especially enjoyed the clear faith that Samantha displayed as simply part of her life, and how she evangelized Tucker without saying one preachy word. The plot was compelling and educational. What it all comes down to is this, if Catherine Anderson writes it, you need to read it. *****