Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sweet Caroline: Fantastic Romance with Sass

When Sweet Caroline arrived in the mail, it leapt to the top of my TBR pile. I have thoroughly enjoyed Rachel Hauck's NashVegas books and wondered if this one would measure up. Let me tell you, I loved every page and did not want to see it end.

Caroline Sweeney has always done the right thing, unlike her mother who abandoned her family. Now she has the opportunity to accept an exciting job in Barcelona, Spain, and she's ready to go. Then she inherits the run-down cafe she's worked at, Deputy Sheriff J.D. Rand is out to capture her heart, and her first love Mitch O'Neal comes back to town after finding fame in Nashville as a country music singer. What's a girl to do?

This book is told in first person from Caroline's perspective. She's trying so hard to do the right thing that she's paralyzed by indecision. If she stays, she'll lose a once in a lifetime opportunity. But if she goes what will happen to the cafe and its employees, not to mention her love life?

This book is filled with laugh out loud moments. It was a good thing my kids were asleep and my husband out of town when I read it, or they would have all questioned my sanity. At the same time, the book has lots of heart. There were times, especially the closer I got to The End, that I cried as Caroline tried to make the right choice.

Another fresh twist (though not dissimilar to Diva NashVegas) is that the heroine is not a Christian at the beginning. She also doesn't make grand leaps of faith, but instead has a very natural progression into exploring faith and what that means in her life. The hero is also struggling to find his faith you have two very human and very likeable main characters experiencing the questions of faith.

As I read Sweet Caroline, I felt like I was transported to South Carolina. From the characters to the dialogue to the activities, it all fit that locale. And the secondary characters add a rich layer to this book. No one is thrown in without serving a purpose, and each adds a dimension to the plot and to Caroline's character.

I loved this book...and can't wait to read Love Begins with Elle when it releases this summer. If you're looking for a romance with sass and heart, pick this book up at your local bookstore. You won't be disappointed.

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