So, keeping with the West Virginia theme, I explored Country Roads by Nancy Herkness and was pleasantly surprised by what I found.
"Nancy Herkness welcomes readers back to Sanctuary, West Virginia, where family loyalty leads to sparkling love, with the help of a whisper horse.
When sheltered Julia Castillo flees her hometown, she has just one goal: to prove to her overbearing family once and for all that she can make it on her own. After she moves to Sanctuary, West Virginia, her horse paintings take the art world by storm. Yet Julia finds her courage tested as never before—by her love for a handsome country lawyer, by her bond with a dangerous black stallion, and by the secret she is so desperate to keep…"
The idea of West Virginia as a center for art is original. Not unprecedented, but I have never seen West Virginia depicted this way. It is fresh, gives WV the culture it deserves to have, and it gives the state depth. I love West Virginia. I visit a lot, I live an hour from the state line. I want to see positive things come out of it, not just negative. This does that, and it does it in a (mostly) believable way. I like the attention given to horses, it is part of the series, but this is a great stand alone work. One I happily dove into.
Character Development: ★★★★★
Herkness hit it out of the park for me. Sure, sometimes it was a little cheesy (I am not a fan of motorcycles) but it was good and it made sense. She has complex characters with wants, desires, needs and fears. And she wields them well. I love the way Julia develops, comes alive in front of my eyes and the way that Paul responds and also seemingly comes alive. The intricacy made me turn the pages, and I looked forward to reading this one. I can't wait to go deeper in the series.
Superb. Montlake Romance is an Amazon subsidiary and I appreciated the attention to detail. I also love the syntax and word choice of the author.
The Sex: ★★★★★
This is a romance novel, so it is not as... graphic as an Erotic Romance but it was very good and the tension was both believable and page turning. I found myself slowing down at these parts, hoping to savor it. It was tame enough that I would recommend it to family, but I still found it exciting.