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June 20, 2023

2 Books for Fans of Romance Novels

by MK French

It's almost the first day of summer. Are you still looking for your perfect summer read? Perhaps one of these romance novels will be it.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould

book cover of young adult romance novel Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould
June 2023; Wednesday Books; 978-1250825797
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); romance

Beck had a hard time dealing with her investigative reporter mother's death, and received a letter saying Come find me with directions to the small town that her mother was investigating. Together with her sister Riley, Beck arrived in Backravel, Arizona. It was an odd town that residents couldn't remember moving to, led by an enigmatic man and his daughter Avery. As the sisters searched for answers, Beck was drawn to Avery. While Beck wanted things to go back to the way they used to be, she's also at risk of losing herself to Backravel.

The town is a creepy place that time forgot, with the distant hum in the distance and people that frequently forgot who they were or what they were doing. Beck knows her mother frequently visited before her death, and convinced her sister to come with her before moving on to Texas to live with the father that only intermittently visited them before their mother's illness. Beck has all the notes her mother had, and is hoping to figure out what happened, but there is no sense of time in the town and people have no idea how long they'd lived there or who the woman in the desert is.

This novel is about grief and loss as much as it is about the mystery of the town. The southwest is such an open place, and deserts can be creepy if you don't know how to survive there. Add to that a place where time doesn't seem to stand still and memories go backward, and it's the physical manifestation of grief itself. The repetition that people can be happy and healthy without any kind of consequence or effort except to stay in this town and go to the treatment center precedes Beck discovering what it is and what actually happens there. Avery isn't immune, either, and carries her own grief. It allows her and Beck to have a bond, even on the days when Avery doesn't seem to truly remember it. In the end, Beck is seventeen and shouldn't be making adult decisions the way she had been while her mother was ill. As painful as grief is, the only way through it is forward, into the future.

Buy Where Echoes Die at Amazon

And Then There Was You by Nancy Naigle

book cover of romance novel And Then There Was You by Nancy Naigle
June 2023; Griffin; 978-1250794178
ebook, print (352 pages); romance

Natalie Maynard fell prey to a con artist, losing almost everything she owned and her life savings. While she worked closely with the detective assigned to the case, she tried to piece her life back together. This ultimately involved moving to Chestnut Ridge, a small town her former husband had been from.

I felt for Natalie from the start. Back from a dream vacation to Mexico, the home she thought she had was empty, and there was no way to contact her new fiance. It had moved fast, and was too good to be true. She had already lost her husband and thought she was starting over, kicking her into grief all over again. His old truck was found and his hunting lodge remained in her name, so she was able to move to the small town where everyone knew everything about each other, and made her feel comfortable right away. She and Detective Randy Fellowes got along very well, becoming friends with the hope for more. While this also feels too good to be true, there's more of an established history for Randy, and he's far more open to her questions than the conman ever was.

While this book is part of a series, it doesn't matter if you've ever read books based out of this town or not. You have the characters and the town, the river to fish in and the areas to sit and relax with nature. The small town has its own stories of the fairy rocks nearby, which is a cute and quirky touch that doesn't really play a huge role in the plot but maybe links back to other books in the series. Overall, this is a lowkey romance, low on heat and high on promise for a better future together.

Buy And Then There Was You at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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