My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
This book starts off with an awkward tone as Zane meets Courtney, a woman who he has apparently been in contact with through email thanks to a dating service, but it turns out he was not the one who sent those emails to her. Of course he isn’t about to let this beautiful woman slip away so he agrees to go on a date with her.
Now you’d think Courtney would be the main female character in this story and the one Zane is destined to fall in love with. Perhaps she is. However the book quickly shifts to introduce Dakota Lansing and for a second I felt a bit confused by this. More surprising is that Courtney and Dakota are sisters, half sisters to be exact. Let the drama begin.
My initial issue with this book was that it jumped around a lot randomly with no breaks to show a scene change. One paragraph involves Zane, a couple paragraphs later it’s Emma and Mrs. Crowley, then suddenly it’s Dakota. I felt there were simply too many characters thrown at the reader within the first two chapters with little story between them that it became confusing and a lot to take in. It would have been better if the character introductions were drawn out just a little bit so as it didn’t feel like the author was rushing to get all the main characters in the story from page one. My second issue was with the formatting, which may have simply been the version I acquired through Netgalley, since after the second chapter there were random chapter breaks. The chapter breaks were there but they seemed to be quite intermittent after chapter three, some would be there and others wouldn’t. For example, break for chapter eight and ten were in the book, but the one for chapter nine was missing. Not a huge issue but it did feel odd to have some of them missing.
As the story began to progress I have to admit I was quite drawn into it, once I got used to the random switches and lack of breaks. I was especially intrigued to find out more about Mrs. Crowley as well as the mystery behind Courtney. Though at this point it felt more like a mystery novel than a romance one, but that was fine as it was getting interesting.
For the majority of the story there is the focus on the mystery surrounding Courtney, about Hyot’s old wives, and who Mrs. Crowley is and what she is up to. Now this certainly kept my attention throughout however I must admit it did not feel like I was reading a romance novel. Let’s face it, books written in nearly every genre often have some romance in them and that’s how this book felt, like it was a mystery/suspense novel with a love story added to it, not a romance novel with a bit of suspense thrown in. Not that I’m complain because, even though I felt I had the mystery figured out quite early in the book, I was still intrigue to see what twists would pop up next, which questions would be answered and which ones would only lead to more questions. At this point the romance was just a nice addition to the mystery.
It was well over half way through when any sign of the romance aspect of the book came to be. Zane and Dakota have been through quite a lot at this point and there’s so much more ahead for them, and the entire Chisholm family. Yet that does not stop them from exploring their love for each other. We know that Dakota had a crush on Zane when they were younger but only now does he admit that he had also liked her back then as well.
While the romance portion of the book was for the most part nonexistent, and when it did show up it was only very small bits, I did thoroughly enjoy this book. The major draw for me was the mystery, and as the end of the book came up and everything unfolded I really enjoyed the pace at which things came, keeping me turning pages wanting to know just what would happen next and if things would turn out good or bad for certain characters. I think the book will appeal a bit more to those who enjoy mystery novels than those who like romance, but I would suggest the book to anyone who enjoys either genres or is simply looking for something good to read.
Now that I have read this book I think I will take some time in the future and read the previous novels in this series to see what each of the other stories entail. Wrangled also makes me want to go read more mystery/intrigue novels, whether they have romance in them or not.