Friday, May 8, 2020
Review - - Stages of the Heart
Stages of the Heart
by Jo Goodman
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Reviewed by PJ
Experience has taught Laurel to be suspicious of the men who pass through Morrison Station. She's been running the lucrative operation that connects Colorado's small frontier town of Falls Hollow with the stagecoach line since she inherited it from her father, and she's not about to let some wandering cowboy take over the reins. But newcomer McCall Landry isn't just any gunslinger. He seems to genuinely care for Laurel, and with his rugged good looks and mysterious past, he could be the one man to finally tempt her off track...
Call Landry doesn't expect much from Falls Hollow. He doesn't expect much from anything anymore. But Laurel Morrison took him by surprise when she put in a good word for him, a virtual stranger, after the stagecoach was robbed--and she keeps taking him by surprise. Charmed by her clever wit and fierce loyalty, Call finds himself falling hard. Now all he has to do is convince her he means to stay--in her bed, in her life, and in her heart.
One of the things I most enjoy about Jo Goodman's books is how she creates interesting, well-rounded characters then allows them to drive their story. That's the case once again in her newest novel, Stages of the Heart, a slow-burn romance with a solid mystery at its core, set in the post-Civil War, Colorado frontier.
I really enjoyed this book. It moves at a gradual pace, allowing the reader to slowly come to know the characters as they also learn about one another, but never feels like it's dragging. I loved the sweet, heart-tugging feelings that develop between stubborn and independent Laurel Beth and former soldier, Call. Laurel Beth's innocence and conflicting feelings alongside her desire and determination are perfectly portrayed. And Call is such a good guy. I was in his corner all the way.
The mystery they need to unravel brings them together even as it brings danger to their door. Goodman does a good job of weaving all the threads together to keep the reader guessing until the reveal. She also surrounds Call and Laurel Beth with an array of secondary characters who bring humor, conflict, and an enjoyable richness to the story. By the end of the book, I felt as if I knew them all, wanting to be friends with some, and happy that others got the punishment they richly deserved.
Take a satisfying trip to the Old West with Jo Goodman's Stages of the Heart.