Review: Jaded by Anne Calhoun


Title: Jaded (Walkers Ford #2)Author: Anne Calhoun
Date of publication: 4 Feb 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 3.5 stars


They can’t hide from desire….

After life as a cop in Denver leaves him burned-out, Lucas Ridgeway returns to Walkers Ford, South Dakota, to serve as their chief of police. He’s hoping to start over with a clean slate and avoid any emotional entanglements—even after his next-door neighbor kisses him senseless. Alana is passionate, dedicated, and most importantly leaving town soon. So why not have some fun?

Alana Wentworth comes from a larger-than-life political family, yet all she wanted was to be a librarian. Then after an embarrassing marriage proposal from Mr. Not-For-Her, she jumps at the chance to live her dream for a few months. She wasn't supposed to get involved with the community—or sexy, troubled Lucas. But when the time comes for Alana to put Walkers Ford behind her, she’s not ready. And Lucas may not be ready for her to go….

My Review

This was my first book by Anne Calhoun. After reading some great reviews of her other works by my GR friends, I had some pretty high expectations. For the most part they were met and I enjoyed the book, just not as much as wanted to.

This book is the second installment in Walkers Ford series but can be read as a standalone. It's a small-town romance and I have a love-hate relationship with these stories. Sometimes they work really well for me, other times - they are a complete disappointment. This one falls in the middle, I enjoyed it, but didn't love it.

I liked the main characters, though the heroine came as annoying at times. She struggled to live up to the expectations of her family (which btw, were impossibly high), and the same time she was so resigned to not being good or glamorous enough. She kept putting herself down and tying to convince herself and the others that she was happy the way things were - with her being in the background, doing everything to please the others, not acknowledging what she wanted and going for it.

I liked Lucas better. He was closed off and distant in the beginning and, yet his good heart always shone through his armour. It was Alana that made him feel again, her presence in Walkers Ford and in his life gave him back the will to care for the others.

Their relationship started as no-strings-attached sex and gradually it became indispensable for both of them. I very much enjoyed the slow build up of their feelings.

The flow of the story was good, just a bit slow in the middle. Ms Calhoun created convincingly the small town atmosphere, all the supporting characters were well built and complemented the story of Lucas and Alana.

I felt let down with the ending of the story. I loved the happy end for Lucas and Alana but I found the transformation of Alana's sister and mother too good to be true. The sugary sweet ending didn't fit the realistic tone of the rest of the story.

I found the writing style subtle and a bit subdued, very much in tone with the nature of both Lucas and Alana. There was no major drama or dark secrets in this story, just normal issues and difficulties ordinary people face.

Overall, I liked both the story and the writing and would love to read more of Ms Calhoun's work.

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