Series: Small Town USA #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on June 4, 2013
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon ✦ Barnes & Noble
Book Links: Goodreads
Caitlin Mulchahy doesn't have much time for socializing now that her sisters' handyman business is thriving. For Dr. Jack Gannon--former Marine medic--keeping the residents of Apple Grove healthy is a welcome distraction from the haunting memories of his time served in Iraq. Although the two have lived in the same small town their whole lives, Cait and Jack barely know each other. That is until a stray puppy leads them to the same place at the same time. But it will take more than one adorable canine to get these two together--it'll take a whole town.
So once again we have the All-American hero, Jack. A nice boy from a small town who did his family, and his country proud, by being a medic overseas in the field of war. He came back and took over his father’s small practice in Apple Grove, Ohio. He is scarred, both inside and out, though he doesn’t let anyone see it.
You also have Cait, one of three sisters, who is taking over the majority of her dad’s handyman business, though she’d really love to pursue her dreams and goals as a carpenter — a damn good one, too.
They’ve known each other their whole lives but don’t really KNOW each other until Jack returns and she finds his truck pulled to the side of the road, without him in it. She stops to see if everything is alright and is suddenly knocked over by a little ball of fur — a puppy that Jack had pulled over to avoid hitting, and then to run after to try and catch. No name, no collar, no tags — just a little ball of energy. And as she sees Jack walking back to them, limping slightly, she suddenly notices he’s a man — it’s that one moment we all know we get where you suddenly see a person in a totally different light, and bam, all bets are off.
This is a very cute story about a lovely couple and a meddling town. As we all know my aversion to the name Jack at this point, we’ll overlook that flaw for a moment. One of the few notes I made to myself as I was reading the book was that Jack has moments where he speaks to Cait as if she is a child or as if he somehow loves her older sister more than he loves her. Now, that may be just part of his character, as he IS older, both in years and experience, but some of the moments just jar with the rest of the story, thus, it jarred this reader. I understand where he’s coming from when he makes the remarks, but they still don’t seem quite cohesive.
One big plus from the book is that the reader gets several recipes for homemade deliciousness, including a buttermilk pie, blueberry pandowdy and pandowdy cake mix. Now, before this book, I had no idea what “Pandowdy” was, so for those who are ignorant like me, the Merrium-Webster Online dictionary defines it as a deep-dish spiced apple dessert, sweetened with sugar, molasses or maple syrup and covered with a rich crust. Now my stomach is growling and I want some.
There is no great mystery to the story, no huge thrills, though there are some painful moments where Jack has a flashback of the war and what got him hurt in the first place, and that bleeds over onto his relationship with Cait at one point. But it ultimately brings them closer. This is a straight-forward, contemporary romance novel, a sweet book with recipes for those with a sweet tooth. (Reviewed by Ginny)