Gerri Hill is a phenomenal writer. I love her books and have read almost everything she has published. What I love most about Hill’s writing is she sets the scene perfectly. In The Secret Pond, I felt as if though I could truly see the landscape of Leakey, Texas. She described it perfectly, Hill transported you right into one of the most beautiful places in the vast state of Texas.
There’s going to be a but now. While the setting for the book was perfect, the romance was not. Our two main protagonists in the story have been dealt horrific losses. Lindsey McDermott, an architect from Dallas, has lost her entire family to a plane crash. I’m talking everyone, parents, grandparents, both siblings, siblings spouses and their children. Hannah Larson lost her husband to a fifteen month battle with a brain tumor. She watched her husband deteriorate as cancer ravaged his body. So when these two ladies meet, they have so much backstory and pain to navigate through.
The majority of the book is spent with Hannah’s son Jack, playing in the Frio River or a secret pond on the McDermott ranch. Lindsey meets Jack, and they see a bit of themselves in each other, grief recognizing grief. They fish, swim and enjoy summer, finally including Hannah on their adventures. That takes you through almost 75% of the book. After halfway, I could not see any way for these Hannah and Lindsey to have a romance. They do, but it feels less than and rushed.
I will continue to read every book Hill writes, this one just was not my favorite. It felt long, a bit repetitious and the romance felt like an afterthought.
3 out of 5 stars
Gerri Hill is one of my favorite go to writers. She has beautiful style and while every book might not be a 5 star it’s almost guaranteed a four star, that saying something pretty spectacular, right? That you can rely completely on her books being quality reads time and time again.
Mandi Murphy moves from Houston to Sawmill Springs after a horrible case goes wrong and ends up resulting in the death of a friend. She decides a slower pace is needed and she takes a job offer in sleepy Sawmill Springs. Expecting to give traffic tickets and break up the occasional bar fight, Murphy no way expects to start her career with a murder case that continues to escalate daily.
Kayla Dixon is the Police Chief’s daughter, she just happens to be a former FBI agent as well. Kayla leaves Dallas to escape a terrible breakup and the frantic pace of the FBI. Her dad offers her a job on his staff and she jumps at the chance to come home. Thank goodness she does, because Murphy and Kayla are the only officers in town that can handle a killer on the loose.
Kayla and Murphy are partnered together. They both are new on the Sawmill Springs police force to solve a multiple murder case. This case is one with very little clues, and a whole town frightened by the turn of events. As the case increases in intensity, so does their friendship and attraction.
This one is a great murder mystery with a heavy dose of romance. The interaction between our two mains is cute and the dialogue is well written and believable. A really good story, my only complaint, and it is pretty small, it I wish just a little more time was spent on the mains interacting with each other outside of solving the case. Take that chemistry up one notch and it would have been stellar.
4 out of 5 stars
The Roundabout by Gerri Hill is what I would call a sweet romance. There really isn’t a lot of heat/ I want to ravish your body moments, and there isn’t any angst to dial up the tension. No, it’s just a cute story with some awe moments along the way.
Megan Phenix is thirty-nine and has sworn off dating forever. After two monumental strikeouts in the love department, she has decided that relationships are not worth the hassle and heartbreak. To make matters worse, Megan is the hottest commodity in her little town. This bachelorette is asked out by every woman in her little town and they just won’t take no for an answer. After too much tequila one night Megan passes out and her “friend” Mary Anne takes some R-rated pictures of her and uses them as leverage to get a date. This blackmail by humiliation on Facebook drives Megan to take drastic measures.
At fifty, Leah Rollins decides to retire from the tech industry, and thanks to a windfall from her late aunt, Leah is able to make her dream come true. She moves to Eureka Springs to open up a t-shirt shop in the sleepy little tourist town. What she also gets is a grouchy, sassy business neighbor, Megan. These two spar over parking spots on a daily basis. Their war over parking leads them to face off a few times before they decide they can help each other out. To stay out of the shallow dating pool, Leah offers to be Megan’s fake girlfriend, until she just doesn’t want to fake it anymore.
The Mary Anne picture blackmail is almost pushing being offensive. I found it hard to believe that an entire community of conscientious grownups would think blackmail by almost nude photos is funny. Especially when they know for a fact that person was drunk and passed out, when the photographer ( Mary Anne) was POSING her for the photos. That’s not cool at all and only a sicko would do that! Then factor in that one of the really amused is Megan’s older sister. Nope, no sister would do that! I think this part of the storyline was taken just a bit too far.
In terms of romance other than a few silly spats over parking, there really aren’t any true love/hate moments. They quickly become allies fighting off the single ladies who want dates. I know a terrible dilemma to be in, right. Of course, over time their attraction becomes the forefront of the story. Overall the story is nice and sugary sweet, but it doesn’t have anything truly special about it. The characters are totally likable but also unmemorable.
3 out of 5 stars