Pros: Super sweet and fun
Cons: Predictable and a little over-the-top in places
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Cade Gentry is, more or less, a bad guy. His life has led him to bad places, and about the only good thing he can say about himself is that for once, he did the right thing. His boss wanted him to do something terrible, and instead he warned a young couple and saved their lives. Now he’s on the run, shot, nearly dead on his feet in the Colorado snow—when he has the good fortune to meet Timothy Key, a pastor on his way to take up residence in the tiny town of Angel’s End. Key saves Cade’s life, and in turn ends up losing his own. With his last words he urges Cade to look after his flock, and Cade, hoping to throw off his pursuers, takes Key’s identity and sets off in the direction of the town.
Leah Findley’s husband was the sheriff, but he was killed several years ago, and now she struggles to raise her young son on her own. She had agreed to take on the pastor as a boarder in return for some money from the town, but she certainly didn’t expect him to show up half-dead in the middle of a snowstorm. She can’t put off the feeling that the preacher isn’t who he seems to be, but she becomes less inclined to look too hard as she starts to fall in love with him.
Soon the town will expect Cade to take up his work as the pastor, and he knows he can’t keep up the charade. He also knows that if he stays, eventually his old employer will catch up with him, putting Leah in danger. But the longer he remains in Angel’s End, the harder it gets to leave Leah and her son behind.
I’ll get my mild negatives out of the way first. Note that if what you’re looking for is a very sweet romance, these are complaints that likely won’t bother you much! There are a couple of moments that felt over-the-top to me, such as the delivery of the pastor’s last words, the stereotypical spinning of the gun when holstering it; that sort of thing. Also, since this is obviously a romance/redemption tale, the general plot can’t really help but be relatively predictable. Again, not a problem as long as that’s what you’re looking for.
I like Leah; she’s a nice combination of nervous and strong, stubborn and shy. Cade seems to care too little about keeping up his charade since he’s counting on leaving town; it felt like he should have at least been trying. That said, he has a fun, mischievous, sweet, haunted personality that’s perfect for this sort of tale. Also, given his background in running cons, it’s fun to watch him face off with one of the town’s more perceptive personalities. The son, Banks, is better than I usually expect from romances; he wasn’t as perfectly precious as I’m used to, even though he’s still the wish-fulfillment-fantasy sweet kid.
The romance is sweet, and obviously it takes precedence in space and pacing over the action. There’s a remarkably adorable kitten in here that stole every scene she was in, not to mention two fun dogs—it’s a great book for animal lovers. Pretty much any complaint I had was something that’s not considered too great a sin in this type of book as long as you know what to expect, so enjoy it in the spirit it’s intended. The sex scenes are nicely done, adult and hot without being too outrageous for the setting. Overall, even though Cindy Holby’s Angel’s End isn’t my usual type of genre/book, I very much enjoyed it.