Sunday, September 25, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: "Twilight At Blueberry Barrens" by Colleen Coble

Kate Mason has devoted herself to caring for her family’s blueberry barrens. But after her fields stop producing fruit, she’s forced to come up with alternative ways to make a living.
Renting out the small cottage on her property seems an obvious choice, but it won’t be enough. When entrepreneur Drake Newham shows up looking not only for a place to rent but also for a nanny for his two nieces, it’s almost too good to be true. And maybe it is—because Drake brings with him dangerous questions about who might be out to kill his family.
The more time Kate spends with Drake and the girls, the more difficult it becomes to hide her attraction to him. But a family crisis isn’t exactly the ideal time to pursue a romance.
Meanwhile, Kate learns that her uncle—in prison for murder—has escaped. Add to that a local stalker who won’t leave her alone, and Kate is looking over her shoulder at every turn. With threats swirling from multiple directions, she wonders if her blueberry fields will ever flourish again . . . or if this twilight is her last.

I received an ARC of this book from the author's publicist in exchange for an honest review.

I was aware, when I agreed to review this book, that it was both religious and the author's first attempt at writing a thriller. I'm going to talk about the good first, because there is a fair amount of "good" in this book. Ms. Coble can create really wonderful, three-dimensional characters you can see and hear in your mind. She creates great emotion and real depth. I will, in the future, read some of her non-thriller books.
Now with the bad. As mentioned, this is her first thriller and you can tell. The romantic aspect of the story flows beautifully, in contrast to the thriller elements, which seem a bit all over the place. I usually love books with multiple POV, but I think we could have done with just Kate and Drake's. Claire, Luke, and the killer's POVs just make the book jump around too much for my liking. And we get all these POVs in the first five chapters.
I found the plot to be wonderful, but it wasn't executed as well as it could have been. It was less "suspense" and more "plodding along". Her descriptive nature is excellent, but for some reason it fell short of describing the suspenseful scenes that could have been exacerbated.
The last thing I disliked comes from a more personal perspective rather than a professional one (as the ones above did). Within the first forty pages, we hear Kate talk about how she can't have children four times. Four times in forty pages. She feels anger over it, she feels worthless to men because of it. I realize that God made women to have children to repopulate the world, but that is not all a woman is good for. At all. I'd really like to see "women's fiction" be about EMPOWERING women, instead of catering to archaic ideals that are no longer relevant. Kate helps with her church, helping dozens of children in worship. She has skills to do a lot of things with her life. She is in no way worthless, and I found that the mentions of her being barren over and over were disheartening. I know barren women, and they are valuable in multiple ways in life. A woman is no longer only worthy of being a wife and mother. We're on the verge of having our first woman as a President, and yet people are out there saying the only thing a woman is good for is having kids. It's ridiculous, and I think that a barren woman reading this book would be extremely depressed.
I see how "the blueberries not producing fruit" anymore is a metaphor, and it's a great one, but it's highly misused.

3/5--a decent book that could have been great.

Purchase Twilight At Blueberry Barrens

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