Atonement: Beartooth Montana # 4 by B.J. Daniels

Thank you to Media Muscle/Book Trib for the opportunity to read and review this title.

Book Review:

My first encounter with this author, and I was intrigued by the premise of the book.  Essentially I expected this to be a bit of a twisty story, but the premise of a missing father with an angry and determined pregnant woman to be the real draw into the story for me.

Tessa is pregnant with Ethan’s child, and she arrives in Beartooth loaded for a show-down. Her primary concern is to find the father of her child, and start anew for a better life for them all.  But, Ethan is missing and presumed dead.  And, he too had secrets: the biggest one being his twin brother Drew. 

Drew was an interesting character, while I could understand his disbelief in Tessa’s story, his reactions were churlish and distasteful, and I couldn’t ever resolve my initial impressions of him to gain a liking for his character or the pairing with Tessa.  For her part, I can understand the panic and desire to find better, but the easy acceptance of Drew, as if the two brothers were interchangeable didn’t give me a great feeling about her ability to parent.

There are several subplots brought into the story: Ethan’s intentional disappearance due to some unknown trouble he was involved in, a mystery surrounding a murder investigation where the sheriff’s estranged wife is found dead on his property, and the mystery surrounding the danger that they all could be in, and there were so many different elements that I never could quite connect to any of the characters as I was trying to keep all of the elements straight in my mind.

Daniels has a style of writing that I could really appreciate, mixing in seemingly unrelated elements that eventually do seem to sort out kept me engaged and reading on to see what the outcome would be.  But, the continual dropping of clues and subtext that related to the multiple story lines almost was too much: the characters of Tess and Ethan never did develop in a way that grabbed me emotionally or had me rooting for or against them.  In many ways, I think that Frank’s story and his relationship with Nettie overshadowed the story that was purported to be primary: sorting out the mystery that is Ethan and the growing attraction between Tessa and Dylan.  Readers more familiar with the series will find some resolution in the threads that carried forward, and I can see everyone appreciating the Frank and Nettie story development.

Atonement: Beartooth Montana # 4 by B.J. Daniels

Title: Atonement
Author: B.J. Daniels
Genre: Contemporary Mystery, Literary Fiction /Family Saga, Western
Published by: Harlequin HQN
Source: Media Muscle/Book Trib, Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 379
Rated: three-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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Just how far are people willing to go to keep their secrets?

Protecting the citizens of Beartooth, Montana, is never an easy job. One year later, sheriff Dillon Lawson still feels guilty that he couldn’t save his twin brother Ethan. But the biggest test of his bravery comes when Tessa Winters arrives, claiming to be pregnant...with Ethan’s baby. At first, Dillon can’t decide if this beautiful woman is a con artist or a victim. If Ethan didn’t die in that car crash, then where is he—and why is he hiding?

Now, Dillon is prepared to do anything to uncover the truth…anything except admit his growing feelings for Tessa. But with violence threatening, Tessa and Dillon must trust in each other to save not only themselves…but also Tessa’s unborn child.

A copy of this title was provided via Media Muscle/Book Trib, Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About B.J. Daniels

B.J. Daniels' life dream was to be a policewoman. After a career as an award-winning newspaper journalist, she wrote and sold 37 short stories before she finally wrote her first book. Since then she has won numerous awards including a career achievement award last year for romantic suspense.

She lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, two Springer Spaniels, Jem and Spot, and a temperamental tomcat named Jeff. When she isn't writing, she snowboards, camps, boats and plays tennis.

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