Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review: Hearth Fires by Dorothy Keddington (Whitney Finalist 2013)

Title: Hearth Fires
Author: Dorothy Keddington
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Digital Copy
This book would be rated: PG

Mackenzie Graham's job, writing for a magazine about houses, seems safe enough, until she arrives for an interview in Northern California and interrupts a meeting between a corrupt cop, a mob boss, and a judge. Her car gets broken into, her hotel room gets trashed, and then much worse things start to happen and a pair of brothers, one a good cop and one a rugged cowboy lawyer, step in and spirit her to the safety of their family ranch near Zion National Park.

Sometimes in writing our strengths and our weaknesses are a hair's breadth apart. That seems especially true in Hearth Fires. Keddington does a fabulous job creating the world of the family ranch in Southern Utah. I was able to picture the red rocks, the horses grazing in the pastures, and even the homey, overstuffed furniture in the family room. But sometimes those details drove me crazy, especially early on in the story. I know this is nitpicky, but Keddington mentions that Mackenzie stays in a Residence Inn in Palo Alto. Then she refers to the hotel as an "inn" several times over the next few pages. I'm not sure if I'd characterize a Residence Inn as a hotel or a motel, but I wouldn't call it an "inn."

I hate to be making two Frozen references in one night of reviewing, but the speed at which the relationship developed in Hearth Fires seemed a little Anna-Hans to me. They spend a few days together, during which time she's hopped up on pain meds and he's her knight in shining armor, then he leaves, and when he comes back, they're engaged and [spoiler alert!] married a month later, and have a baby less than a year after that. I know that true love trumps all and Mackenzie got the chance to know her beau when he was out fighting dragons on her behalf (which also sort of bugs), but I would have liked to see their relationship develop with the two of them together.

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