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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

ARC Review: At First Light by Suzanne Paschke

Having escaped the clutches of her abusive and controlling husband Cheryl Prescott flees the city she grew up in to live a new life under a false name. Years later when her car breaks down in the small town of Mount Kiernon, Cheryl – who is now better known as Sarah Walker – is forced to spend the night waiting for it to be repaired.
Discovering a town that is hurting as much as she is, Sarah decides to settle down and call the town her new home, opening a cafe along with her heart to the people of Mount Kiernon. As relationships with her customers grow, so do the feelings she has for the local mechanic, Jamie.
Will Sarah open her heart to let Jamie in, or will the new life she has built on lies crumble when her past threatens to return?

I received a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

This was an interesting read, I am not sure what category it really falls in. It kind of feels like a Nicholas Sparks novel, not quite romance and not quite normal fiction. What I must mention first is there is a HUGE trigger warning in this book for domestic violence, the main character; Sarah is on the run from a very abusive ex. 

The novel starts out in the present in Sarah's third person pov, then jumps to her friend and co-worker Gloria, then to the past when Sarah decides to open Dawning- her cafe. At the start there is about two pages of info dump on Mnt Kiernon (the town) that was not really needed. In fact those first 15 pages are kind of hard to get through, but after that this is an easy read, with really good writing.

The story moves along at a steady pace, but not a lot happens that could be deemed exciting. Sarah buys a house and starts a business, she makes friends, goes out to eat, attends Christmas and begins to fall in love with Jamie. That's about it until around 80% of the way through when the baggage of her ex begins to leak into her life. 
Jamie, the love interest, is an ex player, down to earth, small town boy. He is nice, patient and sweet. I enjoyed how their romance takes a lot of time. In fact he dates someone else while Sarah is unsure if she can be romantic with him. This novel spans several months. The slow build of their romance is a nice contrast to the insta-love I see in many books. 
This book ends on an unnecessary cliff hanger. I don't think this needs to be a series. Not enough actually happens for it to be as drawn out as it is. I would have enjoyed this novel better had the entire story been one book. I am not sure if I will read the sequel.
The parts I enjoyed best were about Sarah's past and her ex husband. We don't get all that information at once, it's in drips and drabs- which is VERY successful writing. I kept wanting more information, more drama and liked each piece of the puzzle I was given.

So if you enjoy Danielle Steele or Nicholas Sparks I recommend giving At First Light a chance, it is a slow paced, sweet natured romance. 

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