After a motorcycle accident and subsequent alcohol abuse, Jeremy Engel has managed to claw his way back from the dark depths of personal hell. He’s now a successful comic book author and working on his second book, and when the woman he met while on a rare getaway—the one he hasn’t been able to forget—opens a shop in his neck of the woods, he thinks he’s even learned to trust and hope again.
Elizabeth Desmond may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she’s determined to make a success of her shop in the Adirondack tourist town of Lake Placid. And just when she thinks it can’t get any better, the mysterious stranger she kissed on a moonlit resort beach walks back into her life.
But when Jeremy’s old demons return, it’s up to Elizabeth to show him they’re not so different after all…
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
The second book of the Summer in New York series doesn’t have much in common with the first. In fact it links directly back to Jolyse Barnett’s offering from the Christmas in New York series (A Light in the Window), since it includes Jade and Ben from that book and returns to the small Adirondack town of Starling. It’s a tale about addictions and family, secrets and trust, which I enjoyed well enough, though wouldn’t have minded being a little longer.
Jeremy is a recovering alcoholic and a recluse, he also happens to be a successful children’s author, but writes under a pseudonym and has no interest in becoming well known. He’s a man who doesn’t trust at all, let alone easily, and has no interest in letting anyone in his life. Especially not a well-born, moneyed woman like Elizabeth. And yet there’s something about her that he simply cannot resist.
Elizabeth may seem to have it all – a loving family, lots of money, her own successful business – but she has some secrets of her own, and the darkness she sees in Jeremy’s eyes calls to the dark parts of her own part. Even though she knows Jeremy isn’t interested in starting anything, she can’t help wanting more and pushing for answers to all his secrets.
I liked both of these characters. They’ve both struggled with their own addictions and have learned that other people can seriously hinder as well as help. Together they’re both sweet and steamy, with their connection going far deeper than just their chemistry. However, I feel that Jeremy’s alcoholism was given more prominence and attention than Elizabeth’s anorexia nervosa. Maybe that’s because it’s such a big thing to Jeremy and his self-worth, but the causes and his struggles seemed to be explored in more detail than Elizabeth’s. Especially when Elizabeth is the one who isn’t as far along in her recovery as she’d like. While I appreciated that her anorexia took an unexpected form and that she wasn’t shown as being magically “cured”, I did feel that this side of the plot became lost in the rush to the end.
In all this is a good read, exploring deeper emotions and issues, but the short length didn’t leave enough space to explore these fully, which left things feeling a bit unfinished or brushed aside. There are some lovely moments, though (I loved all the stuff with the brooch), and I really enjoyed the scenes with Elizabeth’s family. Hopefully there will be more from the Desmonds and Starling in the future. For now I’m intrigued to see what the Summer in New York series will offer up next.
His Kiss is out July 7th!
Visit Jolyse Barnett for more details.