by Regina Hart, contemporary (2013)
Dafina, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-7582-8652-9
Regina Hart's Trinity Falls is the first book in a new series, Finding Home. Unlike her previous series for Dafina, this one is set in a small town called Trinity Falls. It's that charming place where everyone is pleasant, every day is love, and it never rains unless we are in need of some natural effects to underscore a dramatic moment.
Ean Fever - that's his name, really - is tired of being a hotshot lawyer. He's good at what he does, or so I'm told, but the magic isn't there anymore. Many small moments of discontent have been adding up since the death of his father a while back, and now he can't overlook the fact that he just don't want to do what does anymore. Like only fictitious characters would, he resigns from his job and dumps everything to go back home to Trinity Falls.
Trinity Falls has changed a lot since he left. The local businesses have modernized, although there is the usual resistance against developers and franchises from moving in. Ean checks out his old girlfriend Ramona McCloud, who is now the mayor. However, it is Megan, Ramona's cousin, who may just be the one to capture his heart.
There is no love triangle here, as it's made pretty clear that Ean doesn't feel that old magic with Ramona. Still, the author compares Megan against Ramona in the grand tradition of heroine versus ho. Ramona is an ambitious woman, Megan is content being the local bookstore owner who just wants to be nice to everyone; Ramona is upfront about wanting to reconnect with Ean (ahem), while Megan (who has a crush on Ean for ages now) has to work up the nerve to get Ean to finally look at her. Everyone loves Megan, everyone thinks Ramona is a bit of a hag and Ramona is the mayor only because people are willing to give her good ideas without stepping up to be mayor (that's what it says here).
I feel that the heroine versus ho thing actually works against this story in many ways. The author redeems Ramona in the end, trying to tell me that Ramona isn't that bad, but it's done in such a rushed manner that I have a hard time believing it - not when the story spends so long telling me that Ramona is such a hag. Megan comes off as dull and flat compared to Ramona, thus making her a boring heroine, but that could be just me - I do like a bit of bitch in my heroines, after all. The people here all look like spineless twits, letting Ramona take credit and even step over them when they don't like her.
Ean is a bit dull, but at the same time, he can be quite naïve, especially about people. How did he become a successful lawyer again? Megan can get annoying with her persistent "He's going to leave one day, so poor me, will I ever get my man?" attitude. A lot of the time, she just assumes instead of trying to clear the air. Her passive nature makes her a bore to me compared to Ramona. Ramona gets her redemption and a boyfriend, but this boyfriend spends most of the book being angry because he can't find the courage to tell Ramona that he likes her. He also spends a lot of time judging Ramona badly - although to be fair, she is portrayed here like a cartoon hag most of the time - so I can only wonder how much can he love her if he can bring himself to think of her that badly at the same time.
The writing is fine, and the story is very easy to read. However, this story has many things that don't come together well. On paper, this story should have worked, but the end result isn't as cohesive as it should be.
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