SETTING: Contemporary (Texas)
TYPE: Women's Fiction / Contemporary Romance
REASON FOR READING: I'm a big fan of Lisa Kleypas. Also, AAR gave SD DIK status.
SUMMARY: [from the publisher]
SHE'S FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKSTHOUGHTS / OPINION:
Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas - if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty Jones is a complication he doesn't need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.
HE'S THE ONE MAN SHE CAN'T HAVE
When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty finds herself under the spell of a billionaire tycoon - a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family's past.
WILL THEY FIND THEIR HEARTS' DESIRES OR WILL HEARTBREAK TEAR THEM APART?
Two men. One woman. A choice that can make her or break her. A woman you'll root for every step of the way. A love story you'll never forget.
Lisa Kleypas writes wonderful historical romances so when I heard about her newest release a chill went down my spine. Was another wonderful romance author moving away from romance into the realm of women's fiction or historical fiction or mystery? Visions of Candice Proctor (now writing as C. S. Harris) sprung to my mind. So I waited for the reviews to roll in but unfortunately they were a bit mixed and no one was answering the question foremost on my mind.... did it have a HEA? I had no choice, no choice people, but to find out for myself. So when I finally got my copy, the first thing I did was read the last chapter.
The good news is .... yes, it has a HEA, so it didn't feel exactly like women's fiction... more like a like a hybrid cross with a contemporary romance. But it is written in first person like most women's fiction. The bad news is ... there is a love triangle and I'm not especially fond of them. But I still greatly enjoyed this book.
Liberty Jones is an interesting and complex character and I admired her strength and determination to make a better life for herself and her baby sister. The story, as told by Liberty, begins when she is 11 years old and moves into a trailer park with her mother, Diana, in Welcome, Texas. She meets a boy named Hardy Cates and develops a serious crush on him. But Hardy has ambitions and burns to get out town as soon as he graduates. When he leaves town to make his fortune on an oil rig, Liberty is crushed and I started to have doubts about finishing the book. Hardy was a huge disappointment and I wanted to kick and scream at him. I had to remind myself that this was not a 'true' romance and I knew how it ended so I bravely continued on. :)
When Diana becomes pregnant, she tosses her lazy boyfriend out on his ear. She has a baby girl that Liberty names Carrington and Liberty is completely devoted to her. In fact, she's more of a mother to Carrington than Diana. Life is not easy for them. Diana struggles to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads and clothes on their backs, but occasionally some extra money will 'luckily' land in their laps. But life becomes even harder when Diana is killed in a car accident and Liberty, who has just graduated from high school, is given custody of her baby sister.
Liberty moves to Houston and gets a scholarship to a beauty school. After she graduates she gets a job at a ritzy beauty salon. There she meets a wealthy tycoon, Churchill Travis, who takes a fatherly interest in her and eventually offers her a job as his personal assistant. But she and her sister must move into his mansion. It's not what you think...there is no intimacy between Churchill and Liberty, they become very close friends, almost like father and daughter. But Churchill's son, Gage, doesn't believe that and he is angry and suspicious. But he eventually figures things out and they fall in love.
Then lo and behold in walks Hardy back into Liberty's life and now she must make a decision. I won't spoil the ending but some secrets are revealed and Liberty ends up with the right person.
I'm not sure I can recommend this book to everyone. Some reviews I read really didn't like the book or were disappointed in it. I can see their points but I really enjoyed it. If you don't like love triangles or first person POV (or kids), stay away. It's not a 'true' romance, but more of a life saga with a romantic ending. Of course, if you are a huge LK fan and read everything she writes then you'll probably enjoy this one. Her characterization is excellent and the story moves quickly. It took me a while to come up with a grade. But the characters and story are still fresh in my mind even though I finished it months ago. So must be a keeper for me.