by Annie England Noblin
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: Oct 11, 2016
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Summary from goodreads.com:
From the author of Sit! Stay! Speak! comes a tender, terrific novel complete with long-buried secrets, a three-legged pot belly pig, and an irresistible dog—an unforgettable story about love, friendship, and community. Perfect for fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe.
Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.
As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.
Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.
"Just Fine with Caroline" is the first book in the author's new Cold River series, set in a small town in the Ozarks. The small town setting and quirky characters are the main attraction in this story. The romance is there, but it's really all about those characters, relationships, and interactions that you can really only find in a small town.
I think a lot of people can identify with Caroline. She's a very likable character, and she really always tries to do the right thing for everyone she cares about. This includes her mother, who has Alzheimer's, her doctor father, her trouble-finding cousin, Ava Dawn, her childhood friend, Court, and her fur friend, Yara. Then comes Noah, the long lost grandson of one of the town's most notorious and mysterious citizens. Family secrets are unravelled as new relationships grow.
I loved the town and characters, but sometimes the story meandered off track a bit. I perfer a tighter story, but that's a matter of personal preference. The family mystery was a bit predictable from the start, it wasn't a shocking revelation at the end. There was an interesting sub-story about Caroline's fascination with prohibition era, I would have loved for that to have been developed even more to mirror the current story.
The author has an authentic small town, Southern voice, which I appreciate. Sometimes this type of voice can come off forced and fake, but Noblin's characters come across so natural. This made the story believable and highly readable at the same time.
Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5
Bottom Line:Overall, this is a nice read for fans of small town fiction. The story could have been fleshed out a bit more, but fans of quirky characteres and small town comraderie will not be disappointed.
disclosure: I received an E-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.