I just finished the first book in Jeanne Hardt’s new series Whispers From the Cove. As I stated in an earlier post, Lori and I had read another series by Jeanne Hardt called Southern Secrets Saga that caused a mini dose of book withdrawal when it concluded, (see top 6 ranking list, it’s there) so I was more than ready to tuck back into a good Civil War era romance as promised in the synopsis.
The first half of the book was a bit disappointing, I struggled to get into it due to very little character development (I still don’t know what Caleb looks like). You are just thrown into the story without much time for things to develop naturally for any of the character relationships, be it love or family. The decisions and actions throughout the entire first half made me want throw the book in frustration on more than one occasion. I get it, they are young and innocent, but kids back then grew up fast, so I really expected them to be better equipped to make different choices and maybe stand up for themselves more.
Also, I couldn’t get past the image in my head of Mrs Doubtfire singing “Dude looks like a Lady”… that’s all I’m gonna say on that, besides, “No Thank you”…
But about halfway through, a switch is flipped and I found myself coming around to the story. Ms. Hardt does have a gift for moving characters along their plot points fairly quickly, and she is also very good at introducing conflict. Sad, devastating event after event befall our beloved Lily. You can’t help but love her and I spent the ENTIRE book really feeling sorry for her and awed by her resilience.
Substance Factor: Jeanne Hardt’s books are not feel good reads, there is very little happiness in Cades Cove and you spend the majority of the book doubtful Caleb and Lily will ever get their happy ending. As for substance, my mom said it best when she said she found she could watch her favorite shows and read at the same time and not miss much.
Steam Factor: ♨ I would give this one puff on the steam scale. There is intimacy but it is not what drives their love, and the forwardness of a innocent, sheltered 18 year old girl was hard to just accept. The juicy bits are definitely kept to a minimum, to go so far as to call it a “semi-clean romance”, no blushing this go around.
Series Dependency: This is the first book, so no prerequisite to reading another, just jump in! I will warn that it ends abruptly with no closure on any of the plots, as there are more books to come. I know many people don’t like that, so wanted to throw that out there.
Overall Impression: It was slow to draw me in, but I did end up liking it, and will watch for the next release, (July I believe) although more patiently then perhaps others.
But while you are waiting for the next one, go read Southern Secrets Saga, that one is a good book binge!
Lori’s thoughts: I agree with Tammy’s review which does not always happen! The book fell a bit short of my expectations because I wanted to have the same depth as Southern Secrets Saga. The book did leave me in a position to want to read the next as I am not satisfied with the not knowing.