Thursday, 31 May 2012

ARC Review: Dawn at Birch Crossing by Stephanie Rowe

The moment his ex-wife took his daughter and walked out, Griffin Friesé lost everything that mattered to him. After two years of agonizing failure to reconnect with his daughter, he's heading to Birch Crossing to find her. Unfortunately for Griffin, he arrives to find the town has rallied against him to protect their own. His only ally is a single mom whose warmth and determination just might break through the scars on his heart.

Since the day she became an eighteen-year-old widow with an infant, Clare Griffin's only goal has been to provide for her daughter. She has worked so hard to be strong, and the last thing she can afford is to open her heart to an outsider who will soon be leaving town. But when Griffin helps save her daughter's life in a storm, an unbreakable connection is formed between Clare and the tormented business mogul.

For these two single parents, love is the last thing they are looking for, but in Birch Crossing, love always seems to find a way.

 

‘Dawn at Birch Crossing’ is contemporary romance at its best.

Visualise that checklist; you know the imaginary one that we all have whilst reading. The one that you’re metaphorically ticking off to see if it meets your literary standards! The one that, by the end of the novel, you mull over to see whether or not the book that you’ve spent the last few hours, days, or even weeks reading, has been worth your while. Of course you know the list that I’m refering to. Well, throw the list away. You will not need it with ‘Dawn at Birch Crossing’; it does everything it says on the tin and more!

Okay, enough of the clichés, but surely you get the idea!

Immediately, Stephanie Rowe throws her readers into the thick of drama. We are greeted with fairly complex, yet deeply human and therefore ‘normal’ characters. Both of the characters, who are quickly established as the two protagonists, Griffin and Clare, clearly are individuals with ‘history’, and what we’re interested in, considering the genre, is the romantic history and baggage attached to both of them.

Both Griffin and Clare are extremely likeable individuals (you’ll soon be cheering for them and be swooning over Griffin) with deeply embedded morals, values, ambitions and even flaws. It is the development of these characters, the level of depth and detail that is used to tease out their characteristics, that makes this book so very enjoyable and powerful to read. Yes, this is a contemporary romance, but there’s a hell of a lot going on in this novel, by no means is it all fun, laughter and kisses, even though there’s plenty of that too!

The path that both Griffin and Clare find themselves on is unexpected for them both. In many ways, their lives are turned upside down, which inevitably creates amazing tension in the novel. We never fully know how things are going to turn out. I think this is a testament to Stephanie Rowe’s skill and talent, one that deserves applause; her ability to keep the reader second, third and even fourth guessing was pretty phenomenal. I was amazed by her adeptness to successfully fool me, yes frustrated too, but a little in awe of her ability to craft and shape her novel so very successfully.

Stephanie Rowe very effectively paints a realistic world for Griffin and Clare: a world where emotions, desires and ambitions are carefully considered and crafted; they drive the characters along in their journeys. There was not a moment that I wasn’t completely engrossed in the novel, the story, the characters. I very audibly cheered for them and did not shed just one tear, nope, rather bucket fulls. My heart at times broke for them. The narrative and dialogue surrounding these ‘tender’ moments in particular were so beautifully crafted, poetic even; it was this that had me blubbering. And of course on the flip side of the heart-wrenching events, was the amazing, witty humour.

There are numerous, superbly developed and highly likeable secondary characters in this novel, who really helped to raise the humour to the next level. Yes, there were a few quiet giggles, then the huge stomach hugging laughter, one unfortunately, at the most inopportune time, was when I was sipping my tea!

If it’s not obvious by now, then just to be clear, I love this book! I would most definitely and happily reread, which is an absolute first for me in this genre. 


DAWN AT BIRCH CROSSING
Heart-warming, small-town contemporary romance
Birch Crossing series, Book OneAvailable June 15, 2012
Stephanie Rowe
Four-time RITA® Award nominee and Golden Heart® Award winner Stephanie Rowe is a nationally bestselling author of more than twenty books. A life-long reader, she began crafting sto ries at age ten, but didn't realize it was her dream until she was an adult.

Once the light dawned, she immediately left behind "work" as the world defines it and went to "work" as she defines it, which means getting up every morning with a smile in her heart so she can spend the day doing that which makes her spirit sing.

Stephanie believes in learning to listen to your heart in order to figure out what your dreams are, and then opening yourself to the inspiration that will direct you there. She believes we all deserve the right to enjoy life, and for the ride to be as easy as we want it to be, and that we all should accept nothing less than making our dreams come true.

Stephanie lives in New England, and spends every day doing her best to fill it with people, observations and activities that uplift her soul, which include writing, tennis, friends, and her amazing family.



You can stalk Stephanie easily by following any of these links;                                                                      
Facebook / her website / Twitter                                                                                                              

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