I would give this one 3.5, but I'll round it up.
I actually really enjoyed this book until the last 15-20%. Yes, the structure was a little bizarre with extremely important characters not even showing up until halfway through the book, but I loved the specifics of the small town Texas lifestyle. Kleypas delivers an intimate look into the coming of age of Liberty, a girl who's had few breaks, but alternates between trudging on and powering through. Always moving forward, no matter what.
My problems come later in the story. We have a bit of a triangle, which is not one of my favorite elements in fiction. In order to "solve" the triangle and achieve the HEA we're given a story line that has Liberty coming off TSTL and another character -- extremely likable until then -- turned smarmy. Big disappointment. Especially Liberty, because she truly does come off a hopeless rube at this point and you have to wonder how she's going to go on with a man who's smarter than she is. I give nothing away with that -- both men come off better in the intelligence sweepstakes than she does so it doesn't matter which one she chooses, she's going to the the dim bulb by comparison.
But we only get that impression when the contrived plot twist happens. It diminishes two of the -- until then -- well rendered and engaging characters, and leaves me with a bad taste at the end of the book. Before that we see Liberty dealing with many situations in a logical, intuitive manner. Which is why her incredibly dense behavior at the end is so disappointing and takes away at least a full star. It's a story line that seems tacked on and OOC for all the characters.
I'll keep up with this series, though. Kleypas did a great job with the first person POV and a really wonderful job with all the descriptive specifics of the town and the people. For most of the book she's at her finest. Which is how it gets round up to four stars instead of the round down to three.