The Road to Rose Bend: Rose Bend #1 by Naima Simone

The Road to Rose Bend: Rose Bend #1 by Naima Simone

Naima Simone comes to the blog with the first in her Rose Bend series  

The Road to Rose Bend 

Let’s start with the good stuff – the characters are complex, complete and add levels of diversity and sameness to everyone’s day.  And I loved the writing, even as I felt that some of the angst and issues were recurring far too often. Yes, grief (and both of our main characters had that in spades) and recovery are intensely personal and everyone moves through the process in their own time, but some of the moments were dragging for me. 

But, we have Sydney, expecting things to be “rough” when she returns to her childhood home despite having long-standing kerfuffles with her family. And we have Cole who is still reeling from his own losses of wife and child.  And loss is heavily featured here – with Sydney’s sister dying, Cole’s wife and child dying – and everyone still dealing with (or not) that trauma.  In fact, it is the catalyst to much of Sydney’s problems with her own family, and when you add in her divorce from a truly despicable human, pregnant with his child, and truly trying to feel her own way through all the changes to come.  We’ve got Cole who seems to be working harder than everyone to be ‘something for everyone’ without seeing that he’s got his own needs and issues that need to be dealt with.  And we can add in other issues from recurring ‘side’ stories of a particularly annoying secondary character, a challenge to custody, a political campaign, the usual back and forth of a new relationship and …. 

Suffice it to say, I kept reading to see where things would go and how they would end. I didn’t think that there were enough ‘solutions provided (when I closed the last page) to the multitude of issues, but the connections between all the characters did stand out. Cole and Sydney have an electric (and quite steamy) connection, and while I wanted more of an escape read than what this book provided, it did hold my interest although I had to put it down, frequently, because of the angst and issues. Others will LOVE this book and not find that the angst overwhelmed the romance and connections, but for me – the characters and how they are built combined with the writing made it a book to read and one I’d recommend to those who like their smaller town, coming home stories to have plenty of teeth on the way to the end. 

The Road to Rose Bend: Rose Bend #1 by Naima Simone

Title: The Road to Rose Bend
Author: Naima Simone
Series: Rose Bend #1
Genre: Contemporary Elements, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Dark-theme, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Interracial, Mental Health, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Small Town, Woman's Fiction
Published by: Harlequin HQN
ISBN: 133550298X
Published on: 27 April, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 400
Audio Length: 11 Hours: 45 minutes
Rated: three-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameHalf a Flame

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If it was only about her, she might never have come back to Rose Bend.

But it’s not only about her anymore.

Sydney Collins left the small Berkshires town of Rose Bend eight years ago, grieving her sister’s death—and heartbroken over her parents’ rejection. But now the rebel is back—newly divorced and pregnant—ready to face her fears and make a home for her child in the caring community she once knew. The last thing she needs is trouble. But trouble just set her body on fire with one hot, hot smile.

Widower and Rose Bend mayor Coltrane Dennison hasn’t smiled in ages. Until a chance run-in with Sydney Collins, who’s all grown-up and making him want what he knows he can’t have. Grief is his only connection to the wife and son he lost, and he won’t give it up. Not for Sydney, not for her child, not for his heart. But when Sydney’s ex threatens to upend everything she’s rebuilt in Rose Bend, Cole and Sydney may find that a little trouble will take them where they never expected to go.

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.

About Naima Simone

Naima Simone's  love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey and Linda Howard many years ago. Though her first attempt at writing a romance novel at 11 never saw the light of day, her love of romance and writing has endured. Now, she spends her time creating stories of unique men and women who experience the dizzying heights of passion and the tender heat of love. She is the wife to Superman - or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent - and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

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