This story reminded me so much of the romance shorts I used to read in my mom's Woman's Day magazines. Totally insubstantial and forgettable.
It starts with a big, emotionally engaging event. Mark Nolan's sister, Victoria, is killed in a car accident. She leaves a young daughter, Holly, who is traumatized by the loss of her mother and refuses to speak from that moment on. It's a strong beginning but the rest just doesn't live up to it.
Mark meets Maggie when he goes into her toy store with Holly. Now, San Juan Island is very small so he would have known her personally if she hadn't just moved there. But she's new and pretty and sparks his interest when she connects with Holly right away.
Maggie and Mark have great chemistry and, realistically, they should start dating immediately. Unfortunately Kleypas throws some false obstacles into their path and that's the meat of the story. They're not huge obstacles, nothing life-threatening, mostly just typical. One of them is actually a major cliche in the falling-in-love-again genre. The story is so short, though, they're just sort of glossed over and we get to the end -- exactly like the romances in women's magazines.
And Holly. Adorable kid! So sweet. So wonderful! Understanding on a higher level. How does she act out? By not talking while continuing to be sweet and biddable. If only. Extremely unrealistic kid characterization. It makes the adult characters' job extremely easy and Holly nothing more than a device to get the leads together.
I'm sorry to give Lisa Kleypas a negative review. This is really a 2.5 star read. If you can wait, just get it at the library as Kleypas's publisher is -- as usual -- demanding ridiculous prices for it's HC and e-book editions.
Maybe the next one in the series will be better. Mark's brothers are introduced in this book and they seem interesting, but I think I'll wait and get the next book from the library. I don't recommend spending your hard earned dollars on this until it's on the super-slashed pricing rack. :(