My name is Kimberly and I'm the reader/reviewer behind Wit and Sin. Wit and Sin is a website that provides honest reviews and publicity. I primarily read and review Romance titles, but I also review Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, and Non-Fiction titles. In addition to Wit and Sin, I am a reviewer for Joyfully Reviewed (pen name: Shayna) and Romance Junkies (pen name: Lily).
Taffeta Brown has moved to Mystic Creek in order to rebuild her life and regain custody of her daughter. She has no interest in attracting attention and having her past come to light, so when handsome deputy Barney Sterling catches her eye, she decides to keep her interactions with him strictly in the realm of nighttime fantasies. Then a late-night noise complaint throws her in Barney’s path and suddenly she has his attention. It’s then that Taffeta decides to change her plan of action. She needs help to get her daughter back and who better to assist her than a lawman with a sterling reputation? Taffeta proposes a marriage of convenience to improve her chances and repair her reputation, and to her surprise, Barney agrees. But somewhere along the line, what starts as a marriage-in-name-only begins to feel all too real…
New Leaf is a somewhat difficult book for me to review. On the one hand, it’s sweet and charming, featuring characters who are nearly perfect. On the other hand, there’s something just slightly off about the central characters and their actions that kept me from enjoying the story. To start, everyone in the story reads far, far older than the author tells readers they are. It makes sense in some ways for Taffeta, who has lived a hard life and thus would be more mature than her years. Barney, however, shocked me when I learned he was under thirty. When you add in the fact that the main characters – all born and raised Oregonians – speak like they’re from the South, it’s impossible not to be pulled out of the story by the characters’ speech. Everything about this story felt old-fashioned – which I would enjoy – but it wasn’t at all organic. The pacing was uneven, the type of story it was changed and not in a seamless way. Most of all, I found myself deeply frustrated by Barney. He’s supposed to be this perfect hero with a heart of gold, and most of the time he reads that way, to an unbelievable extent. However, he was incredibly focused on Taffeta’s looks, not noticing her until she wore makeup, then asking her over and over to dress sexier and alter her appearance.
New Leaf isn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. The story has charm in parts and all the good guys wear white hats while the bad guys wear black. However, the dialogue was stilted, I never connected with the characters as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t suspend disbelief well enough to enjoy the book, and the last quarter of the story took a religious bent I was not expecting. I don’t think I’ll be returning to Mystic Creek, but I would try Catherine Anderson’s work again in the future.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.