My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/new-reviews/baby-dont-go-by-stephanie-bond
Of the three Armstrong brothers, Marcus is the most determined to rebuild their hometown of Sweetness, Georgia, which was wiped out by a hurricane a decade before. Now, Sweetness is being rebuilt and since Marcus’s brothers placed an ad for women to join their town, it seems like things are coming together. Businesses are being built, romance is in the air, and the men and women of Sweetness seem to be working together perfectly. But there’s still so much to do and the deadlines to keep their government grants are fast approaching. Now more than ever, the people of Sweetness need Marcus to be working at full strength. Of course, just when Marcus can’t afford any distractions, one practically knocks him off his feet.
Manhattan reporter Alicia Randall can’t believe her eyes when she hears about a Southern town that imported women. She’s convinced there’s something fishy going on in Sweetness; either the Armstrongs are running a scam or a cult or something. So Alicia sets out to do what she does best: go undercover. She’s determined to get close to Marcus Armstrong and discover what the almost-throwback idyllic of Sweetness is about. But Alicia never counts on finding out that Sweetness is more than what she thought it would be. As she falls in love with the town – and its leader – a growing sense of dread lurks in the background. What will happen when Marcus discovers she’s lied to him from the start?
Stephanie Bond ends her wonderful Southern Roads trilogy with the dynamic Baby, Don’t Go. The energy of Baby, Don’t Go had me hooked from page one and the sparks that fly between Marcus and Alicia kept me captivated all the way through. I read Baby, Don’t Go in one sitting, only to find myself terribly upset that the series I’ve adored is now at an end. Ms. Bond has made me fall in love with the Armstrong brothers, their heroines, and the entire population of Sweetness, and all of the aforementioned people are strongly featured in Baby, Don’t Go.
Having fallen in love with Sweetness in the first two Southern Roads books, Baby, Drive South and Baby, Come Home (not to mention the series’ prequel, Baby, I’m Yours), I wasn’t sure how Ms. Bond would make Alicia likeable. She comes to Sweetness with a cynical, almost superior attitude, sure that she knows better than the “misguided” women who moved to the isolated town. It’s an incredible feat that Ms. Bond makes Alicia likeable, even when she’s wrong and even though she effectively lies to everyone. It was easy for me to become attached to her, and I wanted her to end up with Marcus. And boy, did Marcus need someone who knocked him off his stride. He’s practically got the weight of the whole town resting on his shoulders and I wanted to see him let loose, just a touch.
Though Baby, Don’t Go can be read as a standalone, part of the reason I devoured the book in one sitting was because I’d become invested in seeing whether Sweetness would make its deadlines and become a picturesque, welcoming town haven once more. I had a lot of expectations coming into Baby, Don’t Go, as it is (presumably) the final book in the series. Ms. Bond fulfilled most of them. Sadly, the ending of Baby, Don’t Go felt rushed and there were some plot threads that were either left untied or felt only partially wrapped up. I wish there was another book or novella yet to come that would make the series feel truly complete. Still, even with this complaint, I greatly enjoyed Baby, Don’t Go. Alicia and Marcus charmed me as a couple and I’ve greatly enjoyed the time I’ve spent in Ms. Bond’s delightful Southern town.