Silver Thaw (Mystic Creek, #1)

Silver Thaw by Catherine Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very standard ‘rescue story’ about a woman with a little girl trying to escape abusive marriage and meeting a man with almost unlimited kindness, money, and patience who saves her first from weather disaster and poverty, and then from her past.
While this book tries very hard to go through all the emotional and legal pitfalls that can happen in these situations, it overdoes it a little. When you chew on the same ideas and sentiments over and over again they sort of lose their sincerity, and that’s what happens here. The first half of the book is marginally better; by the last 150 pages or so it turns outright laborious and as difficult to chew through as old stale bread.
Another big problem of this book is the ‘cardboard cinderella’ image of its main character, who is simply beautiful, innocent, is a of course genius cook, and loves cleaning.
This message, that you have to be young, beautiful, perfect housewife to be a heroine of a rescue story such is this is really not a right one to send.

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Keegan's Lady (Keegan-Paxton #1)

Keegan’s Lady by Catherine Anderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A romance so thick and corny it will be perfect for those who people who want to bury themselves in it like in a bathtub of honey and not think much.

I only read 2 other books by Catherine Anderson, and while it is enough to realize that her romances tend to be extra-archetypal in their structure and content (predictable story arch, strongly female perspective, unbelievably perfect males, damaged girls who carry some deep emotional trauma but are also of course very pretty and domestic (usually great cooks), etc.), this one just had a bit too much of ‘over the top’ element. Ace, while carrying the ‘dangerous bad boy in black’ image visually, is practically a psychiatrist in one moment, saint in another, and notices and thinks all the right things all the time–the picture of ‘ideal man’ from female perspective drawn thick and unapologetic. And it goes on like that: the hero is too perfect, the heroine is too much of a ‘tortured innocence’, her brother is too unbearable (every time he opens his moth you’ll want to vomit, but apparently he needs to be understood and forgiven), her father is too horrific, the romance and setting is too idealistic, the mess in the end is too dramatic… The story and world setting ‘outside’ the relationship of the two also seemed thinner than in other books.
There’s certainly a time and place for books like this, when your mind might need something entirely unrealistic, some great evil that hurt women to be banished by a ‘bad boy price charming’ who is also drawn entirely whom a female perspective and will make everything right… But I have to say there’s such thing as laying it on too thick.
I’m also kind of glad that I read ‘Summer Breeze’ before this, because I’m not sure I would’ve picked up these series if I judged them by this book…

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Summer Breeze (Keegan-Paxton #3)

Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A skillfully written, slow, sweet, and simple story of a young woman who has spent last 5 years unable to leave 4 walls because of a trauma-induced panic disorder and a ‘reluctant temporary caretaker’ who is of course a dashing gentleman who will change her world.
It follows very traditional story arc, with romance so thick and sweet you could spread it on a toast, but then have hard time chewing through it. With sprinkles of stetsons, sheriffs, horses, gold, and bullets.
Perfect fit for people who are looking for a quality pure romance.
Though it is also likely simple enough that those of us not too open-minded to transparent romance will have to fight through some skepticism.

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