Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
Sherwood once again shatters character tropes for the romance genre in her sophomore outing. As a matter of fact, her strength is in the depth of the characters, and their intensely likable, and oftentimes unexpected, personalities and reactions. Sophie is wonderfully matter-of-fact, rational, calm, without ever feeling cold or distant; it's a credit to the author that she seemingly effortlessly allows us to see what both her protagonists are thinking and feeling without the reader feeling overburdened by it, or sensing cliche in it. Robin, as well, in another book could have been a Mr. Rochester clone: he could have turned out to be morose, weighed down by the burden of a woe-begotten attitude; instead, the character changes to adjust to the personality of the woman that Sophie becomes, showing that they, firstly, actually love each other, and secondly, that they are, for all of the problems that are thrown in their path, fairly well-adjusted people who deserve to be in love with one another; who deserve the love of the other.
I found the the first third to be a bit difficult to get through; I didn't mind the flashback format, but there was just something about the pacing that was hard for me to get through. But when the story moves entirely into its present, the novel really gets going, and this is where I couldn't put it down. After a lovely, steamy interlude between our hero and heroine, the story moves into unexpected territory with a murder with felt to me to be, in the best way, precisely plotted, with subtle clues that neither hit you over the head nor pass completely under your radar; when they're revealed, you get that feeling of exaltation with the reveal, the slight thrill for having guessed or not having guessed it.
A solid story with irresistible, trope-defying characters that you're truly, truly pulling for.