All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: More Than A Promise by Lauren K. McKellar

on August 25, 2018

More Than A Promise (Mindalby Outback Romance #3)
Lauren K. McKellar
Harlequin MIRA
2018, 186p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Asher is barely keeping her head above water, which is impressive given the drought–stricken land around her. Between her job at the real estate agent, her father’s reliance on the bottle, her estranged mother’s pushy texts, and her gorgeous daughter, Dakota, she has no time for relationships…even if Flynn Carmichael is the most beautiful man she’s ever seen.

But Flynn is only in Mindalby for a short time, and Asher and Dakota have no space in their lives for a man not willing to put down roots. Mindalby, a small town, a community, a home. But when the mill that supports the local cotton farmers and employs many of the town’s residents closes unexpectedly, old tensions are exposed and new rifts develop. Everyone is affected and some react better than others, but one thing is certain: living on the edge of the outback means they have to survive together, or let their town die.

I have to admit that I struggled quite a bit with this particular story, for a couple of reasons. The first is my own personal situation and triggers which meant that I found the book a bit distressing and hard to really connect with. I didn’t want to connect with it because I’m seeing enough of that in my life and really don’t need to be immersing myself in it in fiction. I’m not sure if revealing what troubled me so much is a spoiler – it probably is. So I’m not going to but people who know me quite well and know my main trigger will be able to figure out what it is. It doesn’t help that this book was a surprise! version of my trigger which is always by far the worst for me. As part of this, Flynn keeps a huge secret from Asher for the longest time and that was really hard to get behind. It’s such a cruel thing to do.

My other problem was just there was so much going on in here and this is a very short book – category length at less than 200p and it’s crammed full of not only progression with the town of Mindalby and how it’s coping (or not) since the closure of the mill, but also Asher’s life. And Asher has a lot going on in her life.

She’s the single mother of a three year old named Dakota, her father is an alcoholic, which isn’t great given Asher often has to rely on him for care of Dakota when she’s out of options. And her mother and her had a massive falling out when she fell pregnant. There’s just a lot of things about Asher’s life that are packed into this but the downfall of so much is that it doesn’t particularly feel like any of these were adequately explored with the possible exception of her father’s alcoholism but even that wasn’t quite as in depth as it probably could or should have been. The result is that Asher is quite stretched thin in a million directions – her ex has decided to randomly reappear in her life and suddenly demand access to Dakota and then her mother reappears as well. And her job is under threat because the town is struggling so much. Asher works for a real estate and no one it seems, is in the position to buy houses in the town. It just adds up to rather a lot going on but it felt quite superficial. There was so much more that could’ve been explored, especially between Asher and her parents. Especially her mother. That did not feel justified or resolved. There’s also a really weird moment when Asher meets Flynn where she seems ready to accuse him of something horrible but then takes a moment to note how hot he is. Like if you thought he’d done what you’re ready to say, then that’s the last thing you’d be noticing, surely?

I think because of my own issues surrounding Flynn and the keeping of his secret, I didn’t particularly warm to him, nor did I really feel any chemistry with Asher. I did like the friendship he builds with Nash, who is kind of like the town cranky old man and that was quite nice. But ultimately there were a lot of levels on which this book didn’t really work for me. And I readily acknowledge that some of those were simply because of my personal situation, which makes it very difficult for me to ‘enjoy’ novels which deal with this issue. But there were also quite a lot of plot problems (ie there was just way too much of it) as well and so therefore, this was definitely not my favourite in this series.


Book #136 of 2018

{alternative cover when purchased singly}

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