Oh Gage Travis how you saved this book. Let me count the ways.... :P
This was very different from other contemporary books I've read. Definitely not what I was expecting. Took me a while to finish it, it was a very slow read for me but still turned out to be good book, great because of the scrumptious hero. ;) Although I have to say this wasn't really a contemporary romance piece, the book focused more on the heroine's journey from teenage years to adulthood so it came off more like a young-adult fictional read, the first half at least. It was definitely a becoming-of-age story where the heroine in this Liberty Jones faces some hardships, some ups and downs pretty much all on her own.
That being said, Kleypas once again managed to create 3-dimensional characters who I found myself relating to and understanding. I don't think this was her best work but I still thought it was a great read. It definitely is different in style of writing and approach. The first-person narration takes some getting used to and I wasn't crazy about how she switched from past-tense (which is throughout the book) to present-tense in the epilogue. I felt the story tended to go by slowly and was dragged out in the first half of of the book but I found myself liking it more in the second half where things seemed to pick up. And I noticed in this book which is very different from Kleypas's typical style of writing, there seemed to be more summarization then dialogue. Which is usually not my favorite kind of storytelling (I usually hate it) but in this she managed to pull it off. It worked nicely. She scored even more points with me for doing that. :P
My main problem with this was I felt the 'triangle' between Liberty, Hardy Cates, and Gage Travis was rushed and just forced into the book at the very end. It all started and finished up neatly within the last 5 chapters of the book which to me was a bit unrealistic and I found myself wishing the book focused more on that part of Liberty's life---when she meets Gage and Hardy comes back into her life. That's the meat of the story IMO. That was the most disappointing aspect of this book for me. I felt the book could have done without all the filler chapters of Liberty growing up in Welcome which took up more than half of the book where nothing happens except losing a loved one. To be honest if Gage wasn't introduced in this story I would have given up on it all together. While it was a nice story all together I found myself getting really restless and impatient for SOMETHING to happen to grab my attention. I just didn't really care for Liberty's entire background story it wasn't until finally Gage came into her life that it grabbed my attention. That guy was just a bundle of yumminess and made me wish I could reach in and pull him out for myself. :P
I found myself really loving the characters, Liberty and Gage were such a sweet pairing. I thought they were perfect for each other and they managed to make up for other parts of the book I was unhappy with. If it weren't for these two coming together I would have given this book 3 stars instead of 4. I loved they didn't get along from first meeting and Gage misjudged her and vice versa it made for such a sweet intense coming together. I know many are fans of Hardy (so am I) and were hoping for him and Liberty to be together but I think she picked the right man. I'm so glad she found someone like Gage. I FLOVE that man. I wanted him for myself. ;P
I'm just hoping the next book in this series picks up a little faster. This whole first-person narration takes some getting used to.