The House on Main Street
Sometimes I feel like if you have read one small town romance, you have read them all. I can tolerate quite a few if they have something to make them stand out of the herd. Sadly, I wasn’t able to find anything in The House on Main Street that really set it apart for me or that particularly held my interest. It’s just nice; a nice, albeit bland, story, nice characters, and nice plot. Just nice.
This book wanted to hit all of the small town romance tropes. Tessa McKenzie is an interior decorator who has moved back to her hometown after the death of her sister. Just like every other small town romance, she despises being back in town and wants out as soon as possible. She runs into her sister’s ex-boyfriend, whom she had a crush on, and old feelings are stirred up. Cade Cunningham is now the town’s sheriff and, apparently, local nice guy who is always around to help Tessa out. At this point, you could swap out character names and have any number of books that follow this exact formula.
McCoy previously wrote inspirational romances and, although this book does not fall under that spectrum, it has a similar, squeaky clean, Hallmark feel. There’s no heat to speak of besides a few interrupted kisses. The story actually, in my opinion, focused more on Tessa’s interactions with her grumpy Aunt and autistic nephew. I will forewarn anyone who is looking at this book to fit the Christian romance genre that I have seen complaints from other readers about the foul language. To me, it was still pretty mild and really shouldn’t be a problem for most readers.
I thought Cade was a nice enough character. He is interested in Tessa and shows interest in her from the beginning. He doesn’t totally understand that she is hesitant to be involved with him because of his past with her sister. He pursues her sweetly and, in my opinion, was the more likeable of the characters. Tessa I didn’t care for as much. I felt like she could’ve made a better initial effort with reaching out to her nephew. She says several times that she doesn’t know how to deal with a grieving, autistic child. I felt that she could’ve reached out to the counselors at his school or found a family therapist that could’ve helped the whole family to deal with this situation. This is a little boy who already sees the world through a unique lens that just lost both of his parents. Some professional help might have been useful.
As with any small town romance, there has to be some quirky, older lady that meddles in the love story and gives advice. Tessa’s Aunt Gertrude fills that space. She’s crotchety and constantly complains about Tessa’s choices. The pair argues and fails to communicate in nearly every instance. Their banter was, at times, funny, but wore thin for me before too long.
If I had gone into this book wanting to read a heartwarming story about coming together as a family, I think I would have enjoyed it more. Any reader that wants a sweet, holiday tale about an aunt and her nephew will probably enjoy this book. It’s a good story if all you want is small town niceness and very old fashioned values. I, personally, like a little more conflict and romance in my stories. There was no real conflict between Cade and Tessa to speak of.
So, yes, the book was sweet and warm and nice and all those other adjectives that just don’t do it for me. I may have been the wrong reader for this book but I would’ve liked some more sizzle and conflict. This book also could’ve benefited greatly from something to make it a little more unique. While it was a pleasant enough read, The House on Main Street will probably just blend in with all of the other small town romances I’ve read.