Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sleigh Bells in Valentine Valley (Valentine Valley, #5) by Emma Cane

    Title: Sleigh Bells in Valentine Valley
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Series: Valentine Valley (Book 5)
    Format: Paperback; 368 pages
    Publisher: Avon (October 28, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 0062323407
    ISBN-13: 978-0062323408 
Author's Website:
Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher.

Once upon a time Kate Fenelli lived in Valentine Valley, but she had aspirations of working for a big law firm and challenging herself to make it in the big leagues. Over the years her dreams became reality and she thrived in the big city, but success came at a price. She lost the man she once thought to be the love of her life. The stress of a going to school combined with a new born and miscommunication led to divorce. Now everything she's worked for has been thrown into jeopardy due to a dispute between her and the partners of her law firm, she's come home to Valentine Valley feeling embarrassed, vulnerable, and questioning the choices she's made in her life. Once she'd been happy with her life and the choices she'd made, now she's starting to reevaluate everything.

Tony De Luca had thought himself immune to Kate's charm. She'd been the love of his life and she'd broken his heart. He'd picked up the pieces and built himself a new life, albeit a single one, in the years since they'd parted. Now he's the proud owner of a bar and he's surrounded by family, friends, and his son. One day he figures he'll remarry, he just hasn't met the right woman yet. Now, with her back in town he feels those old feelings stirring.

Can two people with so much history find love again? Timing, after all, is everything.

This was a cute story about love, forgiveness, and letting go of a past which cannot be changed. We've all at one point or another in our lives said things we wish we could take back, had our actions or words misinterpreted, and done something in the heat of the moment we later regretted. Sometimes things can be smoothed over, but sometimes they can't. For Tony and Kate it ended up with their marriage breaking up. Over the years they'd created a schedule for their son which was arranged in a way so the two would have the least amount of interaction between them. Now, with Kate being back home for a "sabbatical to reflect" (aka get her priorities straight) the two have no choice but to try to get along while living in the same circles.

I tip my hat to any author who attempts to write a romance about a couple who reunites after a divorce. I think it's one of the more ambitious endeavors a romance author can take on. Ms. Cane, however, does a excellent job with this one and I enjoyed the story. Things progress much more slowly in such a story because of all the history and hurt feeling between them which makes the moment of reconnection that much more tricky. What I found intriguing is that it's Tony who has the harder time getting over the past than Kate. Perhaps because he was the one left behind?

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I felt Ms. Cane managed to capture many of the emotions and conflicts that occur when a couple divorces and the obstacles they most overcome when getting back together. I always think it ironic that when a couple marries there is a side of the church set aside for the family and friends of the bride and another for the groom's. A marriage is a time when a couple unites and comes together so I feel there should be not sides, but rather a happy coming together of families, fiends, and loved ones. When a divorce occurs, however, lines are once again clearly erected. Everyone feeling the need to pick a side. I loved how despite all the warnings and concerns from family and friends, Kate and Tony decided to take another shot at love after doing what they should have done long ago--talking and communicating about how they feel. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a FAN--the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice.

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