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Simply Seventeen Challenge (The Whittler) – novellas
Salvage by Meljean Brook:
After discovering her estranged husband unconscious on the beach, the heroine planned to nurse him back to health and then kick him out. She was unaware of her father’s request that he make enough to support her before returning or that he’d misinterpreted a wish she’d made so felt that he’d simply abandoned her. Feeling he was a failure, the hero agreed to a legal separation. Outside forces derailed that plan, but thankfully their lack of communication didn’t last. I had sympathy for both characters. Both the reasons for their separation and the reasons their reunion would be different—and therefor work this time around—were believable. A very enjoyable marriage-in-trouble/reunion romance.

Simply Seventeen Challenge (The Whittler) – Replay
Silent Run by Barbara Freethy:
I wanted to like this book much more than I did. The first several chapters set in the hospital kept throwing me out of the story as they were so unrealistic. The doctor visited the amnesiac heroine a few times as did a nurse, but otherwise they left her alone (even after she’d yanked out her IV), never checked her vitals, etc. The nurse even offered her a sleeping pill at one point despite her head injury which went untreated (no CT scan or tests were done, no specialists called). While I had sympathy for the heroine’s predicament, the fact she’d disappeared on the hero seven months prior to the start of the story with only a short note taking not only their infant daughter, but all photos, furniture, and belongings of the baby’s was cruel. It turned out most everything she’d told him in their years together was a lie. So I had much more sympathy for the hero. Too much page time was spent on set-up for the hero’s brother’s story. The book improved somewhat in the middle, but the villain was too easily dispatched and the ending felt rushed. Despite her actions, the hero still loved the heroine. She apologized but made it clear she wasn’t actually sorry so their reunion ultimately did not work for me. I only kept reading to see the hero reunited with their daughter. I liked the hero, but overall a disappointing read.

Silent Fall by Barbara Freethy: After this h/h had each played such a large part in the previous book, I was surprised the first book’s h/h were barely mentioned in this one. The overwrought plot revolved around too many coincidences and weak villains. The suspense didn’t feel suspenseful. The heroine’s psychic visions were always exactly what they needed at the moment they needed it. I didn’t dislike the h/h, but didn’t care about them either. The resolution was a complete dues ex machina tied up with more entirely too convenient coincidences.

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