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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Book Review: Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm (Once in a Lifetime) by Rebecca Raisin

This small town romance has a nice easy, light style.
by Rebecca Raisin
  • File Size: 2608 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Carina; 1 edition (July 17, 2015)
  • Publication Date: July 17, 2015
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance, Small Town
  • My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0

Maple sugar kisses
Lucy would do anything for her mom…but she never expected to end up promising to leave her. After her mom got sick, Lucy dropped everything to take care of her, working all hours in a greasy diner just to make ends meet and spending every spare moments she had by her mom’s hospital bedside.

Now, Lucy is faced with a whole year of living by her own rules, starting by taking the first bus out of town to anywhere...

Except she didn’t expect to find her next big adventure just around the corner! Especially when on her first day in town she bumps into grumpy, but oh-so-delicious Clay amidst the maple trees. Surrounded by the magic of Ashford, Lucy has the chance to change her life forever and finally discover a life she wants to live!

Fall in love with Ashford, Connecticut in this dazzling and beautiful romance from bestselling author Rebecca Raisin.

Lucy and her hippy mother spent many years traveling and scraping to make a living. For the past few years Lucy has worked at two jobs while being her ailing mother’s caretaker. Lucy has wonderful artistic talent and her mother wants her to go to Paris to study. Her mother makes Lucy promise to go away for a year even if she won’t go off to Paris.

Lucy takes the first bus and ends up in Ashford, a storybook beautiful small town. On the bus she meets a sweet grandmotherly woman who suggests she apply for work at the Maple Syrup Farm. The farm is being restored by a reclusive man who won’t mingle in town and won’t accept help. Lucy trudges her way to the farm thinking she will have to charm a grumpy old man. Instead she opens the door to find a buff, all too handsome, grumpy young man.

Clay resents Lucy appearing at his door but he decides he will work her until she gives up. He just doesn’t realize that Lucy doesn’t give up. Lucy is a really hard worker even if she shows up dressed in something not quite suited for farm work and doesn't think to bring gloves.

Lucy discovers that she is warmly welcomed by the town’s people. She begins to makes friends and invest feelings in the town and the farm. Being a romance, the reader knows that Lucy and Clay will eventually get together. However it is beyond half of the book before Clay really begins to soften. Meanwhile I was totally frustrated that Lucy wouldn’t share her problems and cares with any of her new friends or Clay. She expects him to tell her what hurt he suffered that closed his heart but she doesn’t share her own situation.

The story is reasonably well written but, for some reason, I never warmed up to Lucy and the story until almost 80% in. Lucy’s character is deeply (repeatedly) developed but I found her a bit too ditsy - even if it is a sweet ditsy. On the other hand Clay’s character is pretty shallow and almost mean for most of the book. Once the romance clicks it is strong and sweetly presented. There is late conflict that has to be overcome that gives the story some zing. I kept trying to like it but found myself longing for the end. I did enjoy the last 20% although I was surprised that certain important issues were left unresolved. I guess (hope) these will be handled in other books in the series.

There are plenty of positive reviews at Amazon so it may have just been that I wasn’t in the right mood. I have been leaning toward a more active genre lately. Or I was too frustrated by the lack of communication to relax and enjoy the town life which filled the first three quarters of the story. The story has a nice easy, light style. Readers who enjoy small town settings, friendships and romance might want to give this a try.

{There were some glaring editing errors that may have impacted my feelings even though I tried to ignore them. Since this is a NetGalley version I hope those were fixed for the final release.]

I selected this at NetGalley and it is part of my NetGalley Challenge.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your honest thoughts on this one. A lack of communication between main characters really annoys me, lol.


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