Review: TBR Challenge – Where the Heart Is by Darcy Burke
WHERE THE HEART IS by Darcy Burke is a good introduction to the author’s style. The cute small town scenario snagged my interest right away and it was an easy read for this month’s TBR Challenge. I had so much fun doing Wendy’s challenge last year that I’m excited about doing it again.
WHY WAS THIS IN DORINE’S TBR? I struggle with shorts or novellas so I had a bunch of them lined up. This one was a freebie I added because the cover drew me in. I don’t normally gravitate toward firemen heroes, but the setting of Oregon sold me.
I stockpile shorts or novellas when I see them for free. It’s rare that I’ll buy one because I really don’t prefer them. I use them mainly to find new-to-me authors or series. Originally, I chose AUGUST by Kit Morgan for this month’s challenge but it didn’t work for my brain at all. It had too many characters and too much telling so I set it aside to try again later. WHERE THE HEART IS started off with a bang, so it held my interest until about the middle where it waned a bit.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT…
Chloe English moves to Ribbon Ridge, Oregon, for a new start after a failed engagement. She has barely unpacked in her new home when it burns down along with almost everything she owns. Hunky volunteer fireman Derek Sumner grabs Chloe’s attention when he brings her a kitten he thinks is hers from the fire. As they get to know one another better, will their individual secrets cause a rift that can’t be healed?
When I first started reading this one, I couldn’t deny the cuteness. It’s not the scenario that would normally draw me into a story, but it had good dialogue, interesting characters and the pacing was great. I love stories about artists and as one of Chloe’s vocations, it kept me reading. She also serves at a bar/microbrewery where Derek is filling in. I enjoyed the neighborhood pub scenes and felt they were realistic.
Derek’s surrogate family is large and eclectic so the book sets up future stories with his brothers and sisters. The siblings have an intriguing background that makes the Ribbon Ridge series seem more unusual.
Additional characters can either make or break a novella in my opinion. This book had enough to add intrigue for future stories but it wasn’t confusing or overwhelming. The focus remained on the lead couple for the most part, while celebrating the holidays with Derek’s family.
Because this couple’s relationship moves at a rapid pace and becomes sensual rather quickly, I think fans of instalove will enjoy it. Even though it is less than a month that they know each other, I felt their immediate attraction. I’m on the fence whether that’s believable in real life or not, but it works for this story.
More sensual than I was anticipating, it should appeal to readers who want that focus. The only other problem I had is that Derek is hung up on a conflict from his past that he rehashes over and over. When he finally deals with it, it’s glossed over. His love for Chloe overcomes his issues, but he is a jerk while he’s dealing with it. I expected more groveling and a better explanation.
As a prequel novella, WHERE THE HEART IS does its job introducing a contemporary series. I couldn’t tell if future novels will have enough of the small-town elements to maintain the quirkiness I prefer, but sensual contemporary fans should try it because this series may be exactly their style.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. Digital copy obtained for free in an author/publisher promotion at Amazon. Also available for free at BN so check your digital vendor. Print copies can be purchased at Amazon.
Where the Heart Is by Darcy Burke
Series: Ribbon Ridge, Book 0.5
Category: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Intrepid Reads (May 22, 2015)
Rated 3.5 out of 5
Do you enjoy series prequels?