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Didn't work for me
on 3 December 2013
This is a short novel/novella about Chloe who moves into a small town to escape from a failed engagement and a pushy mother. She is trying to reinvent herself with a job as an art teacher and a second employment in a pub. When her house burns down she is taken in by Derek, a voluntary fireman who is also the Chief Finance Officer of a large company. Derek comes with his adopted family who all make Chloe very welcome - but, of course, it is Derek that she wants to make the longest lasting relationship with.
In such a short novel the writer doesn't have a lot of room to develop themes and therefore some of the characterisation and plot-setting is perfunctory and the story takes place over a very unrealistically short time period. It also seems that this is the first in a series about this small town and therefore issues which will arise with some other characters need to be hinted at here. The result of this is that that the time given to rounding out the characters of Derek and Chloe is necessarily truncated and they seem a bit shallow and unformed. Derek's problem with his family background and why he doesn't want Chloe in his house seemed very intense and I didn't really get why it was so important - it could have done with a few more chapters and a longer length novel to work round all the issues and integrate them into what we know about Derek - as it was, his sudden change of heart seemed alarmingly abrupt and the short time frame made it look as though he was subject to extreme mood swings.
This plot didn't really work for me in such a short novel. I never felt properly involved with the main characters or that I really knew what they were like. It was all a bit rushed. I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.