Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review: "If I Didn't Know Better" by Barbara Freethy


Mia Callaway thought she had the perfect guy and the perfect job...until she didn't. After a run of bad luck, Mia is looking for an escape, so she agrees to go to Angel's Bay to clean out her aunt's house. She has no idea that the wounded soldier next door and his adorable, but also wounded, daughter are about to change her definition of perfect. Add in stolen art, a family secret, and a town where miracles can happen, and Mia's escape turns out to be the greatest adventure of her life. 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

My Review:

If I Didn't Know Better is the story of two people who have reached a fork in the road and have to decide which path to travel. Mia has recently left her job and her love behind and headed to Angel's Bay, the setting for another series of Barbara Freethy's books. She's there to clean out her beloved aunt's house, supposedly, but what she's really trying to do is find herself and I believe that she thinks that connecting with her aunt through her things that she might herself among the piles and boxes. 

Jeremy grew up in Angel's Bay but hasn't substantially returned until now. After finding himself the full-time caregiver of a daughter he didn't know about, he seeks the calm of Angel's Bay to help his daughter heal. To help himself heal. He is also trying to determine his future as an injury on duty with the military has derailed his future. Neither comes to Angel's Bay expecting to find love but that's what they find - love that starts on the roof of a house.

I loved coming back to the Angel's Bay setting and catching up with a few characters, and meeting a few more that hopefully the author will tell us more about in future stories. As with most Barbara Freethy stories, there is a mystery element to this story. Hidden paintings, disgruntled neighbors, and mysterious break-ins all lead Mia to wonder what was going on with her aunt. The mystery drives Mia and Jeremy apart until a pivotal time, when Jeremy finally allows reason to rule over emotion and reaches out to Mia at just the time to save her from danger. The only negative I had was that the ending felt rushed. I felt the story was moving along at a good clip, clues to the mystery were being exposed, the relationship between Mia and Jeremy was growing and then, boom, villain shows himself, a bit of danger and then the mystery is solved. A quick epilogue followed and the book was basically OVER. It felt very abrupt rather than having the culprit revealed more slowly. The ending just felt a bit different than previous Barbara Freethy novels. 

Despite the abrupt ending, the story was otherwise well developed and well written. I love the peek back into the San Francisco Callaway family and loved started to get to know the other Callaways and look forward to their stories.


About the Author:
I grew up in a world of books. My mother was a voracious reader and passed on her love of fiction to me. Some of my earliest memories were reading with my mom and going to the library. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Communications, I went into public relations and spent many days writing nonfiction business articles when what I really wanted to do was write novels.

I wrote my first novel in my late twenties and was lucky enough to have it published two years later. A career in traditional publishing followed as I published books with Silhouette Romance, Harper Collins, Penguin and Simon and Schuster.

In 2011 I decided it was time to start publishing my own books. The digital revolution had made that possible with retailers like Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Google and Kobo opening their doors to authors. I formed Fog City Publishing and began by releasing some of my backlist books. New novels quickly followed, and I had tremendous success with new readers discovering my work each day. It’s been a thrilling few years. I hit #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List in 2012 with my novel Summer Secrets and since then nineteen other titles have hit both the NYT and USA Today Bestseller Lists. I’ve also sold 5 million books! And in July 2014, I was named the Amazon KDP Bestselling Author of All Time! Did I say it’s been a thrilling few years?

I’m currently writing a family series: The Callaways which feature love, mystery and adventure! The first eight books are now available. Book #9 IF I DIDN’T KNOW BETTER will be out in August of 2015.

I’m also in the middle of a fun series of short romances Bachelors & Bridesmaids. The first four books of that series are available with more coming this year.

In 2015 I will also be releasing a new romantic suspense trilogy: Lightning Strikes. The first book in the trilogy, BEAUTIFUL STORM will be out October 1, 2015.

When I’m not writing, which is almost never, I’m enjoying my family and the usually good California weather. A native Californian, I’ve lived at both ends of the state, and while I sometimes miss the hot summer nights of Southern California, I love the beautiful bays and hillsides of Northern California and the intriguing city of San Francisco, one of my favorite settings.

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