07 October 2008

Review: Toni Blake - Letters To A Secret Lover

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (May 27, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061429880
ISBN-13: 978-0061429880

The last thing she needs right now is a man . . .

Lindsey Brooks had it all—an awesome job doling out advice to the lovelorn, a fabulous high-rise apartment, and a to-die-for fiancé. But then she got dumped—wearing nothing but a "Kiss the Cook" apron—and desperate to escape, she retreats to a tiny Montana town to reclaim a family treasure. She never dreamed anyone would try to stop her—or that he'd be sexy as sin.
Too bad she finds such a hot one . . .

Rob Colter isn't into relationships—but Lindsey sees Rob as the perfect guy to help her "get back on the horse." The sex horse, that is. Unfortunately, he comes complete with a mysterious past, which gets even more mysterious when she finds his passionate letters to another woman—whose name happens to be tattooed on his chest.
And too bad he has so many secrets . . .

Now Rob's dangerous past is about to catch up with them both. And if that's not horrible enough, Lindsey is falling for him—hard. For a girl who usually has all the answers, Lindsey is up to her neck in trouble.

Lindsay is a well known columnist of Love Letters where she gives advice to people on their love life’s. But then she gets dumped by her fiancé while wearing only an apron that said: kiss the cook. Not only does she get dumped, she also gets the moment recorded for posterity! She and her fiancé are photographed by the window washer while her fiancé cleans his cheesecake covered face.

The news travels faster than dry wood on fire and she wants to lick her wounds, so where does one go to lick ones wounds? Right, Moose Falls, Montana. There she knew her late aunt Millie had a canoe livery and house and perhaps she could make amends to her by buying the place and get some serious r & r. When finally rolling into this small town she meet Rob Culter, the man who took over the canoe livery from her aunt Millie and he is the perfect man to “get back on the horse”.

But what may seem like shallow waters can reveal such deep currents….

I was in the mood for some love-that-concurs-all romance with real life characters in a real life world and Toni Blake gave it all to me with Letters To A Secret Lover! The initial few chapters of this stories made all the bells and whistles go off. “Why did it sound a bit familiar to me?” And then it hit me, the leading lady in this story, Lindsay, had a “Men In Trees” experience. This is a tv series with basically the same storyline in those very first chapters.

But back to the book, I don’t think there will be many readers who will not be able to relate to Lindsay. She is a Jimmy Choo’s loving gal from Chicago, loving her job, having a solid relationship and is on the verge of stepping in front of the altar, taking her vows. And from there on it all goes downhill for Lindsay. I just enjoyed to go through the motions with Lindsay, to experience what she felt through every moment as she gets dumped and then drives to a small town in the middle of nowhere and goes back-to-basic.

What made Moose Falls so incredible where its inhabitants and the effect they had on Lindsay. From the moment Lindsay strolled in the Lazy Elk she met Carla, the bartender and owner of the establishment. They have an instant connection that sometimes happen between women. In a short period I got to meet lots of town folk that gave such a heartwarming feel to this place. It was Rob whom also strolled into the Lazy Elk that night and hello, the mystery man flared of signals that made me flip the pages in anticipation and need for more. Rob Culter is a gruff, brooding, silent, keep-to-himself kind of guy…in short, complex. I like my leading male complex..dark…brooding and I got it all with Rob!

It is shortly after Lindsay and Rob meet that I got to read the first letter from Rob to Gina and it was short but beautiful and spoke of hidden emotions. I would have loved for each chapter to begin with such a letter, just to enhance that feeling even more but I only got 3 or 4 throughout the whole story. It is with those letters that the author adds an emotional charge to Rob as a complex man and it gave thoughts to ponder on. As Lindsay and Rob get to know each other more and the underlying sizzle turns into a blazing fire, I couldn't help myself and fel right alongside Lindsay for this gruff man.

It is the plot that speaks of hidden secrets and mistakes but is so well portrayed, so insightful and intertwined with realistic emotions that it reverberated in my heart. It made Lindsay and Rob separately very appealing characters but together as a couple all the more recognizable and intense. Those secrets also become the inevitable hordes for them to take and kept me on edge as what it would be. The way it is set up makes you wonder and allowed me to connect even more with Lindsay when truths are revealed. Rob infuses this tale with his choices and the repercussion of them and I could do no other that get absorbed by it all. In the end I became a part of this small town with its own ways, they become a wonderful backdrop for a heart rendering romance.

There is humor, there is passion, the journey of trust, there is friendship and family, this story is one that grabs the essence of what is so important in life. It would have been an enjoyable read for me but Toni Blake gave it an astounding ray of colors with the emotions, especially concerning Rob and with that, in extension also Rob and Lindsay as a couple. Throw in some wonderful secondary characters and I read Letters To A Secret Lover in one sitting.A heartwarming, multifaceted and tender contemporary romance with 3-d characterization, I loved every page in Letters To A Secret Lover and the conclusion was gripping till the very end.

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