Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ARC Review: The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

Series:     Eternity Springs #14
Pub. Date:Feb. 27, 2018
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Length:368 pgs

I'm not gonna lie - I was totally sucked in by this cover. I just love the look of the colorful house in a small town Colorado setting... the whole thing is just appealing. I have not read any of Eternity Springs books, and I have not previously read Emily March. So I was trying something new here. And I'm glad I did! I want to move to Eternity Springs now... and I definitely need Celeste working her matchmaking magic to set me up.

Side note - while I didn't feel lost without having read the earlier books in the series, there is a ton of character crossover and maybe some spoilers for previous books. There was probably also some world building having to do with the town as the series has progressed. So you may want to start at the beginning instead of jumping in at Book 14 like me.

Caitlin Timberlake is a member of one of the founding families of Eternity Springs, and the youngest child of the Timberlake clan. Caitlin's mother has pushed her toward a big career designing textiles in New York City, and she is good at her job. But lately Caitlin has felt the itch to come home and be closer to family and maybe settle down in the process. All of these things definitely resonated with me. Caitlin was a likable heroine and her determination was admirable. I especially liked that she decided on our hero and was going after him gung-ho. I hate wishy washy heroines, and Caitlin was definitely not that. 

Josh Tarkington is hiding out in Eternity Springs - hiding from his past, his demons, and from the possibility of love. There are journal entries from Josh interspersed throughout the chapters and I was a bit surprised by them... the tragic nature didn't seem to fit with the idyllic cover and setting of the story. But they will quickly sink their hooks into you and have you sympathizing with Josh and wanting to heal him with a hug. I applauded that he was able to escape his past and make a life for himself in Eternity Springs, and I was definitely sympathetic when those old demons started haunting him. And how can you not love a guy who has a doggie in a wheelchair?

So there is a definite meet cute moment between our couple in a gondola in Telluride... and it definitely made my sweet tooth ache. I thought that it was setting the tone for a sweet and sappy romance, but that is not really what you got. Instead we had a flawed hero and determined heroine set in a town where everyone has their issues, but seemingly maintains a positive outlook. Celeste seems to be the fairy godmother of Eternity Springs, a town matriarch if you will, and everyone goes to her for advice and comfort. All of the characters are church-going favorable individuals that left an overall content feeling to the reader. There was a little bit of steam but it did not overpower the story. I would maybe classify this one along the lines of a feel-good or sentimental or maybe even inspirational romance. It's a series that I will be more likely to pick up in the future.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, St. Martin's Press.

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