Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: Hold Me Close (Paradise, Idaho #2) by Rosalind James

Book Blurb:

Kayla Chambers knows what love is—and what it isn’t. When her boyfriend turns abusive, she and her son escape to a new life in a place where he’ll never find them. The idyllic town of Paradise, Idaho, has everything she needs to get back on her feet. Survival is her only goal, and the last thing she wants is another man in her life.

But Kayla’s new neighbor, high school principal Luke Jackson, is determined to change her mind. Luke usually takes the fast lane with women, but he can see that Kayla and her son need help, and he wants to earn her trust—even if that means taking things slow. He strikes up a friendship that soon simmers into something passionate and real. But when Kayla’s past catches up with her, Luke knows he has to find a way to keep her safe…or risk losing her forever.

My Review:

In Hold Me Close by Rosalind James I was pulled in from the first page and felt like I was inside the story with Kayla, her son Eli, and Luke.  When Kayla takes the biggest risk of her life to escape terror and physical abuse, she goes to Paradise, Idaho.  One of the few places she has happy memories of, even if for a short time.  There, she starts fresh.  Wary, but pushing on, Kayla is determined to make a good life for her and her son in Paradise.  Luke's home has always been Paradise, even if no woman there has claimed his heart.  Something about Kayla tugs at him though and makes him want to be closer to her.

I really liked both of these main characters.  I loved Kayla.  She is brave, strong and determined.  Despite the odds and what she's been through, she pushes on and doesn't give up or pity herself.  I got the strong impression that she would come out on top...if the man she's running from doesn't find her.  I really liked Luke too.  The depth of his feelings for Kayla and Eli surprises him, but he doesn't fight them.  He is patient, caring and protective.  Together their chemistry is palpable, even if Kayla is not ready for another man in her life.  She's not sure she ever will be, but Luke just might change that.  I liked that Luke didn't play the knight in shining armour.  He just was who he was, and when he realizes the depth of what Kayla is running from he wants to keep her and Eli safe but doesn't try to take over their safety.  He seems to instinctively know that Kayla needs to battle her own demons.  I liked the honesty and maturity that are integral parts of who Luke and Kayla are.  Luke and Kayla are believable, realistic characters who could be anyone in your life.

I really liked Paradise, Idaho also!  A small town that felt like home as I read, a place I'd like to be.  It definitely is not a smothering small town, and Rosalind's descriptions of it and the people there really brought it to life.  With a host of secondary characters from Luke's family to friends backing up the main characters, Hold Me Close was a powerful read.  I enjoyed reading Hold Me Close in the different points of view Rosalind James writes from...from a battered woman to inside an evil mind of who she's running from.  This really upped the suspense of the plot and made it all feel even more real.

Rosalind brings a spotlight on domestic abuse and how difficult it is to escape in Hold Me Close, and I'm glad I read this book.  With continuous good flow from scene to scene and page to page, Hold Me Close is suspenseful, hopeful, and emotional.  I'd recommend it to any romance reader.

5/5 stars

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