Her Hometown Detective
Her Hometown Detective by Elizabeth Mowers is an entry in Harlequin’s kisses-only Heartwarming line. The characters and storyline are a little outside what I usually see in small-town romances, but they reflect the sorts of folks I actually encounter in small towns and I enjoyed this one quite a bit.
Faith Fitzpatrick grew up in Roseley, Michigan and has come back in search of a fresh start. As a child, her father was involved in a scandal and after being shunned, Faith fled as soon as she could. She’s clearly had a tough time of it in life and now that she’s exiting a bad marriage, she’s coming back to Roseley to try to put her life together. She has cousins there, with whom she is clearly close, and even though she is nervous about her reception in town, she’s found a place where she can afford to start her dream business – and it’s not a cupcake shop.
While trying to find her way in life, Faith discovered a love of motorcycles and the skills to repair them. Roseley is quite rural, but it’s popular with weekenders and summer folks so there’s room for a shop that can help locals and tourists with fixing and detailing their bikes. I did like that the author feeds tidbits about the town economy into the story so that one can see how various businesses fit into Roseley rather than simply expecting them to survive on good vibes and fairydust.
Faith’s nervousness about her new start in life and her wariness of some folks in town feels natural. Even though she’s older and has a new last name, someone’s bound to put it all together at some point, after all. And it doesn’t help that a vandalism spree starts up in Roseley around the time of Faith’s arrival. The incidents at local businesses bring Faith in contact with her long-ago high school crush, John McTully, a local detective.
Even though he clearly doesn’t remember her from before, John is certainly drawn to Faith now. On the surface, the clean-cut hometown hero and the edgy biker don’t seem like an obvious pair, but the author does a great job of letting readers get to know her leads as they interact with each other and with their neighbors. Along the way, we learn that while John is truly a fair and decent man at heart, he has his own scars and some serious family dysfunction to work through. Not only is it a hard situation for him personally, but as readers, we see John’s own struggles giving him empathy for others. Faith, on the other hand, may not be the stereotypical small-town sweetheart, but in her interactions with others, one can see that she’s clearly a decent person.
This book gives readers a lovely romance between two wounded and sometimes tentative leads. One thing I loved is that not only do Faith and John gradually learn to trust each other, but they also start to believe in themselves a little bit more. The author weaves some mystery into that story without letting it overwhelm the romance, and while the ending ties everything up in an extremely neat bow, I still enjoyed myself. If you are looking for closed-door romance that isn’t also religious/inspirational, I’d definitely recommend that you check out this novel and others in the Heartwarming line.
|Review Date:||January 18, 2023|
|Book Type:||Contemporary Romance|
|Review Tags:||Harlequin Heartwarming | small town romance|