Somewhere Along the Way
By Jodi Thomas
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Somewhere Along the Way is the second book in Jodi Thomas’s Harmony, Texas series. Reagan Truman, the teen runaway who found a home in the small town in Welcome to Harmony, is now eighteen and finding life growing more complicated as the number of people she connects with grows larger. When an accident threatens her life, she discovers an unlikely guardian angel in the mysterious Gabe Leary.
Liz Matheson, younger sister of fire chief Hank Matheson, finds Gabe anything but angelic. Her struggles to prove to her family that she is an adult who can care for herself and establish a law practice in her hometown where she’s still the baby of the Matheson family are challenges enough for any woman, but Gabe Leary’s claim on her heart may be the challenge that matters most. I fell hard for Gabe. I’m not usually susceptible to loner heroes, but his reactions as his safe isolation is breached gradually by his protective feelings for Reagan, by the arrival of an old friend, by his overwhelming love for Liz, and eventually by the people of Harmony left me smiling and teary-eyed at the same time.
Liz and Gabe’s relationship is the central romance of this book, but Hank’s relationship with Sheriff Alex McAllen, the central romance in the first book, has yet to reach a conventional HEA. Alex is reluctant to name a wedding day. Meanwhile, Claire, the middle Matheson sibling who chews men up and spits them out onto canvasses, is winning attention in the art world for her bizarre paintings and unsettling attention from a stranger in Harmony. And lonely Tyler Wright is faithfully sending email messages to the elusive Major Katherine Cummings.
Small-town settings seem to be proliferating in romance and women’s fiction these days. Thomas’s Harmony is one of the standouts. It is a distinctive place with an unusual history and a cast of interesting characters, home grown and transplants, whose lives twist and tangle in myriad ways. However, Somewhere Along the Way was not as pitch perfect a read for me as was Welcome to Harmony. Claire is not a character whom I find sympathetic. I thought her sudden rapprochement with Denver incredible, and I remained unconvinced that she deserves that lovable charmer. I was also bothered by all the loose ends, even though I’m sure Thomas will weave them all satisfactorily into the overarching story in subsequent books. Denying the reader a conclusion to Jeremiah’s plight particularly smacked of the kind of soap opera cliff hanger ending I deplore.
Despite these concerns, Thomas’s storytelling continues to charm me, and I care about her characters, especially young Reagan, who I suspect has a romance triangle in her future. I’m definitely planning a return trip to Harmony when the next book is released sometime in fall 2011.