Once, Neil Pettit was the only thing Maddie Montesano wanted. She tried every trick in the book to keep him, but no luck. It took some time-and a lot of holding her head up while the town gossiped-but she’s made a good life for herself and her daughter.
Now, Neil’s back and is trying to be the father he never was. Maddie so doesn’t need this kind of disruption. Not when the crazy attraction she’s spent years ignoring still sizzles between them. The temptation to give in and have Neil again is strong. And when he offers that dream of forever she’d abandoned, well, she might give this town something new to talk about….
All too soon, I am left with somewhat of a feeling of ambivalence towards a book. Beth Andrews is an author that I like and have enjoyed previously and I am sure that this enjoyment will continue with books of hers into the future. However, Talk of the Town is not one of her better ones, in my book.
The general gist of the story is that Maddie fell pregnant at 16 to her then-boyfriend Neil, who just wanted to pursue his dream of NHL stardom. She had the baby, he offered minimal emotional support and left her to do the lions share of the work with raising their child. I would have expected the back story as to the reasons behind Neil and Maddie’s behaviour to have been addressed a lot earlier in the book than it was. In my opinion, it took way too long to get to in this story.
After discovering the reasons why each did what they did, it seemed to me that both Maddie and Neil were as much to blame as each other. Yeah, they made some dumbass, ill-considered decisions when they were young, but hell, they weren’t the first and they sure as hell won’t be the last. Both should have sucked it up a long time before instead of letting it fester. I’ll admit, I’ve never been in that situation, but nothing annoys me quite like those who choose to blame others for situations of their own making.
I just couldn’t bring myself to care too much about Maddie and Neil, as individuals or as a couple. I saw in another person’s review prior to reading this book that the romance in Talk of the Town seemed a little forced, and I have to admit I am inclined to agree with that statement. It didn’t quite ring true for me. I did often feel quite sad for Bree, their daughter, having to be the filling in an immature parent sandwich.
As it has been with a number of books I have read of late, I actually preferred the supporting cast to the main characters, and for that, I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the In Shady Grove series pans out.
My rating: 2.5 out of 5
Release Date: 2 April 2013
Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Harlequin via NetGalley in return for an honest review.