Welcome to my review of the first of a new series, Return to Briarwood by Elisabeth Barrett. Please read on for my review and excerpt. be sure to check out the tour stops to see what other readers thought of the title and be sure to enter the tour wide giveaway where you can win a Loveswept Prize pack that includes One Loveswept Mug / One Flirt Mug / Ebook copies of: CLAIMED by Stacey Kennedy; MY OBSESSION by Cassie Ryan; DEEP AUTUMN HEAT by Elisabeth Barrett; TAKE THE FALL by Marquita Valentine; YOURS TO KEEP by Serena Bell and SWEET THE SIN by Claire Kent
Once and Again
Combining a reunited couple with a reversal in circumstance is the set up for this story. In high school Carolyn was the rich ‘good’ girl with Jake the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Family interference is excessive: Jake is arrested after being caught with Carolyn, and this sets up the story as we enter it now.
Carolyn’s father made some bad choices, and the family is destitute. Unused to living without the finer things, Carolyn has a job at the Briarwood country club, she is struggling with the changes in circumstance and another twist is ready to drop. Jake is now successful, and is the owner of the club. He’s still justifiably angry with Carolyn for family’s actions, but she’s still intrigued.
I was missing some integral elements in this story: firstly the secondary characters are all too prominent, without real purpose beyond further installments. Carolyn was an “all tell no show’ character, with little emotional depth. Jake’s lack of depth was all too prevalent until about midway through the story, but his growth and depth was all present in his interactions with his partners, and none with Carolyn. We are told, repeatedly, about their connection in high school, but the lack of flashbacks or real emotional draw TO those times leave the story rather bland and the connection questionable.
In short, far too much tell, focused on characters and relationships NOT relevant to the couple left me unsatisfied and uninspired. I’d hoped for fun and light, I got light and unfocused, leaning to boredom without a plausible connection to the characters, or them to one another.
Title: Once and Again
Author: Elisabeth Barrett
Series: Return to Briarwood #1
Also in this series: Anywhere You Are
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Loveswept
Published on: 14 July, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour
For readers of Shannon Stacey and Susan Mallery, the heartfelt new Briarwood series begins with a tale of forbidden love, broken promises, and second chances.
Growing up in Eastbridge, Connecticut, Carolyn Rivington was a young debutante who did whatever her parents asked. So when her father demanded that she break things off with the boy from the wrong side of the tracks or else, she did. Now Carolyn’s family is deep in debt. She’s no longer a member of the Briarwood Golf and Yacht Club, she’s an employee. And the tanned, tattooed, dangerously handsome stranger who saunters into her lobby isn’t just her new boss . . . he’s also her first love.
The last time he saw Carolyn, Jake Gaffney was in the back of a police cruiser, handcuffed and humiliated. But seeing her again stirs other memories: a blanket on the beach, the moon above their heads, and the most expensive bottle of wine he could afford. Now the tables have turned. As a real-estate magnate and Briarwood’s new owner, Jake doesn’t have to answer to anyone. But now that he’s back home, he’s finding it hard to live down his old reputation.
Before they can move forward, Jake and Carolyn must face their pasts. But it’ll take more than sizzling chemistry for them to heal old wounds and return to the love they once shared.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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