REVIEW: Facing It: A Hearts of the South story by Linda Winfre
Dear Ms. Winfree:
I can’t recall why I purchased this book but I bought it a couple of months ago with two other books from Samhain. It could have been a “new” book or it could have been on the bestseller list. Those usually influence my purchases at Samhain. I thought it had good suspense and a very nice romance that was often complicated by attention paid to other romances which had taken place prior to the setting of Facing It.
Ruthie Chason is in a terrible marriage. When she finds information that Stephen, her husband, is engaged in criminal behavior, she gets up the courage to grab her children and leave. Her brother, Tick Calvert, is Sheriff of Chandler County. She runs to him.
Tick recognizes that Ruthie has to hide while he figures out the best way to apprehend Stephen and make sure the evidence is good enough that Stephen gets put away for a long time. Both Ruthie and Tick know that if Stephen catches her, Ruthie is a dead woman. Tick calls on his friend and deputy Chris Parker to take Ruthie and her three children with him to St. Simon.
There is a strong secondary romance between Harrell Beecham and Jennifer Settles, two FBI agents. For six months the partners have been playing house next door to Ruthie Chason, pretending to be married and the strain is killing both of them. In true unrequited romance fashion, Harrell is in love with Jennifer and Jennifer is in love with Harrell but neither know the truth. Jennifer, however, takes a leap and challenges Harrell to explore their feelings for each other.
It’s almost a mistake to call the romance between Harrell and Jennifer a secondary romance because it occupies almost as much space and attention as the headlining couple.
Most of the book is focused on the relationships between the couples. The suspense took a back seat to the emotional entanglements toward the middle of the book as we get involved with spats between Tick and his wife, the impending marriage of Mark and Tick’s other sister, Tori, in addition to the blooming romancing between Harrell and Jen and Ruthie and Chris. The problem was that both relationships were very interesting. Harrell had a problem believing in love ever after given that his mother had been married seven times and that the one person he thought he loved ended up not being the person he thought she was.
Ruthie just escaped a controlling man and one would think she wasn’t up for another relationship but she missed the physical and emotional closeness she had with her family. Chris’ quietness attracted her. Chris has his own unique issues with women. The issue of domestic abuse is explored from both angles but I felt could have been used to greater effect. Ruthie, for example, had experienced a non physical but just as emotionally damaging domestic abuse. Her path to recovery seemed so simplistic at times. Domestic abuse is often about control and that theme could have been exploited for greater conflict.
When the suspense plot intervenes toward the end of the story, it felt tacked on. I wish that Harrell and Jen’s story had been separated from Ruthie and Chris so that ample attention would have been paid to both as well as giving enough space for the suspense plot to have been woven throughout the story.
This book is very readable and I liked all the couples but I felt like I was reading several different stories at one time. B-
This book can be purchased in ebook format from Samhain.