Title: It Had to be Them
Author: Tamra Bauman
Series: It Had to be… #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available: 11th Oct
Kline Grant has traveled the world for more than a decade to avoid going back home—and to make sure she doesn’t see Ben, her former fiancé. But her mother’s recent health troubles make it impossible for Kline to stay away. She plans to check on her mom, avoid Ben, and then get back on the road again. But the quirky town locals of Anderson Butte, a private little celebrity hideaway in the picturesque mountains of Colorado, have a very different plan.
Ben Anderson, the town’s handsome and beloved doctor, once broke Kline’s heart for reasons he’s never explained. When he figures out her mother’s scheme to trick her into coming home, he enlists the meddling townspeople’s help to make things right again with Kline. Then Ben plans to win her back. But as the former flames come face-to-face, old wounds ache, hurtful secrets emerge, and sparks fly with the heat between them that’s never cooled. Will the truth be enough to heal two broken hearts, or will it keep them apart forever?
Source: ARC from Montlake Romance via NetGalley
This is a cute, easy read about second chances, family responsibilities and the positives and perils of small town romance. The characters were likeable, but with plenty normal flaws, and the way the whole town came together to try and persuade Kline to stay was adorable. It’s a nice little comfort read to escape into.
However, because it’s obvious from the start where everything is going, it does have a few pacing issues. Sometimes nothing much happens between Kline and Ben and everything feels slow, then for no apparent reason one of them (usually Ben) will completely change their mind about their relationship and things get serious fast. I suppose it added an element of surprise to the proceedings, since I was never quite sure how they would feel next, but it also felt uneven.
I did like Ben, though. He’s a touch controlling and definitely thinks he knows best, then again he’s been taking care of everyone for so long it’s not surprising. It would have been nice if he’d shared his thoughts with Kline occasionally, rather than thinking he was protecting her with his silence, but his mistakes genuinely come from a good place and his touches of anxiety made him human.
I liked Kline too, most of the time. For someone who wanted to go out and save the world, she is pretty selfish where Ben and his family are concerned. Her need to be his number one was pretty petty, but they were young, and her habit of blaming their breakup for her various issues did wear thin. However, I loved how she stood up to Ben’s father and takes a stand for things she thinks is important. If only she transfered that over to people too… Still, she’s likeable for the most part and I loved when she and Ben were together and able to forget about everything else, because they make a great team.
So it’s not perfect but definitely still enjoyable. The town of Anderson Butte is quirky and charming enough to smooth over any rough patches and the ending made me smile. If you like small town romances, and this series in particular, then you should find something here to enjoy.
It Had to be Them is out October 11th.
Visit Tamra Baumann for more details.