HEART OF THE STORM by Shannon Stacey
Brody Rollins is back in tiny Tucker’s Point, Maine, for the first time in five years, and now he can’t escape… from former neighbors, old regrets or maddening glimpses of his ex-fiancée.
SEEING RED by Jennifer Greene
Stranded at her grandfather’s seaside cottage, Whitney Carr prepares to face the blizzard alone. But unexpected help soon arrives—in the form of her secret high-school crush.
LAND’S END by Barbara Dunlop
Tessa Ambroise is desperate to ditch the charming, infuriating hotelier circling her late aunt’s century home like a vulture. But the snow piling up outside the mansion puts both their plans on hold.
When a child goes missing, this perfect storm of cramped quarters and freezing temperatures brings old flames and new acquaintances closer together…but will they go separate ways once the sky clears?
If you’ve been reading my reviews at all, you know I’m a huge Shannon Stacey fan. What you probably don’t know, however, is I’ve been a Jennifer Greene fan from WAAAAAY back in the day. Like back in the 1989 Night of the Hunter day. She’s written some of my all time favorite books over the years and I will buy anything with her name on it. Barbara Dunlop is new to me, as far as I know, but I’ll be keeping an eye on her in the future.
I was really looking forward to these three stories. A snowed in anthology? Two of my all time favorite authors writing in a short story format? A format in which they both excel? How could I lose?
Well, I didn’t LOSE per se, but it wasn’t a home run either. The first two stories, Heart of the Storm by Shannon Stacey and Seeing Red by Jennifer Greene were good. Both Ms. Greene and Ms. Stacey did the Exes Reunited tropes with some success, but here’s the big problem I had with both stories.
THERE WASN’T NEARLY ENOUGH GROVEL.
These guys both broke their ex-girlfriends’ hearts when they walked away, and they both did it suddenly and without any reasonable explanation. Without even so much as a conversation. Then they come back years later and decide they want their women back and they’re just going get what they want? Oh, HELL no. These guys, ESPECIALLY Brody in Ms. Stacey’s story, needed to crawl naked over broken glass in the town square in the snow uphill both ways. And they needed to do it NOW and A LOT. And I wouldn’t say no to a good swift kick in the junk just for old times’ sake. (Bloodthirsty? Me? No. You’re thinking of a different guppy)
Brody didn’t seem to really care at first about Delaney and her feelings. He KNEW starting anything with her in front of the whole town would make it uncomfortable when he left (and he WAS leaving), but he did it anyway. Red at least acknowledges his mistake to himself and tries to make it right with Whitney as soon as he can. He DOES grovel a little bit (especially with the duffel bag) but still. As I’ve said MANY times, There Can Never Be Too Much Grovel. Ever.
The last story, Ms. Dunlop’s Land’s End was my favorite of the trio, I think. There were some quirky characters and I still wanted to smack Tessa’s brother Barry into a snowbank, but overall I enjoyed it. It was less about exes getting a second chance and more about a couple just figuring out where they stood with each other and really taking the blinders off to see each other as they really are and not as they want to be seen. I wish we could have had a little more closure with Colton’s father, but I was still happy with the resolution.
Overall, I give the book 3 stars. I’d still probably read it again when I need a quick fix of an entertaining winter story, but, honestly, if I’m looking for a Shannon Stacey book, I’ll always start with Mistletoe & Margaritas or any of the Kowalskis (of DOOM). Honor Bound Groom or Kiss Your Prince Charming are my go to books for Jennifer Greene.
In fact, I think I’ll just curl up with Kiss Your Prince Charming right now. I could use a little friends-to-lovers, ugly-duckling-to-Prince-Charming, injured-hero romance right about now.
Lynda the Guppy
aka Burrowed Under the Blankets Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
Rating: 3 Stars