Nick All Night
I knew if I waited long enough I’d find a another good series romance. And I did. I have loved Cheryl St. John’s Harlequin Historical titles, so when I saw her name on this book, I grabbed it. What I found was a book that praises small town life without putting down the city. It is a hymn to family, friends, and the contentment that comes from doing work that you love. For a big bonus, it features one of the sweetest beta heroes I have met this year.
Ryanne Whitaker was raised in Elmwood, Iowa where her father was a professor at the local college. She grew up being best friends with Nick Sinclair, the boy next door. But where Nick was content with life in Elmwood, Ryanne yearned for more. She got a scholarship to Stanford, left town, and hasn’t come back.
Nick stayed in Elmwood. He is now the sheriff, and a single father with a son, Jamie. They live in Nick’s old home with his father, Mel, and he still practices his favorite hobby, fixing up old cars.
Ryanne got her MBA, married, and with her husband started an advertising business that was a big success. Ryanne lived for her business and gloried in its success while she ignored the fact that her husband cheated on her.
But then he disappeared with all their money, leaving Ryanne owing the IRS a huge debt. She was ashamed to have fallen so far, so she goes back to Elmwood to her old home to rest a bit and make some plans for the future. As Ryanne recoups, she slowly begins to see Elmwood, and Nick in a whole new light.
This was one of the sweetest books I have read this year. It was almost like a concentrated novel by LaVyrle Spencer. The conflict for Nick and Ryanne is mostly internal – she needs to realize that success is not incompatible with a slower pace and a small town, and Nick needs to let go of his habit of always taking care of someone, and doing what he really wants to do. If Ryanne had not come back to Elmwood, both she and Nick would probably have gone the way they had been going and both would have been deeply unhappy.
Elmwood really comes alive in this book and displays most of the good traits inherent in small town life; Ryanne comes to realize that she gave a lot up when she left it. She also realizes that it is possible to be a success doing work you love, for less money. You are amply repaid in happiness.
Cheryl St. John ties everything together nicely in this book, and it left me with a warm glow all over. Fans of small town romances, and readers who miss LaVyrle Spencer, give this one a try. It will make you feel good all over.