For me, rest means reading and getting back on track with my blogging :) So here we go, a review! :)
Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr
published by Mira (Harlequin) in February 2011
Rising sous-chef Kelly Matlock's sudden collapse at work is a wake-up call. Disillusioned and burned out, she's retreated to her sister Jillian's house in Virgin River to rest and reevaluate.Genre: Contemporary romance
Puttering in Jill's garden and cooking with her heirloom vegetables is wonderful, but Virgin River is a far cry from San Francisco. Kelly's starting to feel a little too unmotivated until she meets Lief Holbrook. The handsome widower looks more like a lumberjack than a sophisticated screenwritera combination Kelly finds irresistible. But less appealing is Lief's rebellious stepdaughter, Courtney. She's the reason they moved from L.A., but Courtney's finding plenty of trouble even in Virgin River.
Kelly's never fallen for a guy with such serious baggage, but some things are worth fighting for. Besides, a bratty teenager can't be any worse than a histrionic chef right?
Series: Virgin River series, Book #13
The Story: Kelly Matlock is half in love with her boss/mentor, famous chef Luciano Brazzi. She is devastated when his wife shows up and tells her she's been sent by Luciano to break off things. Kelly is confused and feels betrayed because all this time, the relation was platonic. The collapse at the restaurant due to stress is the last straw for Kelly; she quits and goes to her sister's place to recuperate and think.
There, Kelly meets Virgin River's new resident, Lief Holbrook. Lief is an award-winner screenwriter. He's also a widower who is in charge of his deceased wife's daughter, Courtney. Since the death of her mother, Courtney has been going through a rough patch and getting involved with the wrong crowds. Lief hopes that the move will help and he'll get back the sweet Courtney.
Unexpected to Kelly and Lief, they both develop feelings for each other. However, things are complicated, especially when Courtney is far from accepting a new woman in Lief's life.
My Opinion: Hmmm, I had my doubts on Harvest Moon from the beginning. From reading Wild Man Creek, I was afraid I wouldn't like Kelly's character, because of her relationship with Luciano Brazzi. While I didn't dislike her character as I feared, I still had my fair of issues with Kelly and Harvest Moon.
Let's address the issue of Kelly's relationship and feeling for Luciano. So kudos for Kelly for not crossing the line and having sex with him, although she was very attracted. However, not having sex doesn't mean their relationship was not intimate. So I felt Kelly was quite hypocrite when Luciano's wife showed up and confronted her and the feelings of betrayals she felt towards Luciano. I mean, she talked and texted him several times a day, they had cook-offs, he turned her on... and she admits in Wild Man Creek that if he wasn't married yet, she'd have slept with him already. Really, sex was just a technicality in my opinion. And I know I'm being judgmental. I mean, if it was one-sided love and more innocent, I'd feel sympathy towards Kelly... but it isn't. In the end, it did affect her level of likability I think. I didn't dislike her - which is good, but at the same time, I didn't love her :(
I think Lief was more likable. Poor man, not only has he lost his wife, but now, he's all confused by his daughter. I give him a lot of credit for being so patient and keep trying and reach out. At the same time though, I thought it was a bit unfortunate that the conflict between Lief and Courtney was based on miscommunication and misunderstanding. At the same time though, can't blame Lief. Hard to communicate with a teenager, especially if she doesn't want to. However, I thought that as a character, he wasn't very interesting. His situation was, but his personality. Like take away Courtney and hmmmm, he's a nice guy, but hmmmm.
The most interesting character and the one I enjoyed reading about the most in Harvest Moon was Courtney. Losing your mother is hard at any age, but during adolescence is worst. Especially when you find yourself with your father doesn't want you and you find yourself with your stepfather. Technically, it shouldn't be a problem because Courtney does love Lief and they used to get along well; however, she thought he didn't want her. Instead, it turns out that Lief was just angry at Courtney's father for rejecting her. Overall though, I think Ms Carr did a great job with Courtney's character and developing it. She really felt like a teenager, being sad about her mother, being rebellious to see if people around her care... but there was a sweet side to her, especially with her friends and dog.
Unfortunately, this all means there was three parties to the romance, not two. Courtney feels threatened by Kelly's presence and because of that, Lief and Kelly have to be careful at what pace their relationship develops. And it's totally understandable and once again, it shows how Lief is considerate... However, add in all the parts with Courtney and I felt the romance was very subdued and was more in the background. I guess though it's better than having too many storylines from previous characters.
Although one of the storyline was interesting - Jack and Denny. I was wondering how Ms Carr would wrap up this one, because from the beginning, it seemed a little bit too obvious. I'm happy with how Ms Carr resolved the storyline, although the twist wasn't that surprising. I do hope that Denny will get his own book in the future.
My Grade: C-. I think the problem with Harvest Moon is that nothing really grabbed my attention like in Wild Man Creek. The characters were all quite nice, but a bit bland and so was the romance. I found myself more interested in Courtney's parts than Lief and Kelly's ^_^; which saved this book from being an okay book. I admit I'm a bit disappointed by Harvest Moon, especially after a winner like Wild Man Creek, but I'm still going to continue with this series. I just hope the next characters are more appealing :)