October 10, 2016

ARC Review: Just Fine with Caroline

Just Fine with Caroline by Annie England Noblin (Oct. 11, 2016)
368 pages
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: I received a free ARC from the publisher. This didn't affect my honest review.
Purchase: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
My Review:
Goodreads Summary: 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.

My Review

Just Fine with Caroline is a sweet novel full of hope, friendships, family, secrets, and an adorable dog. This review may seem a little vague at times, but keep in mind that I didn't want to give away any spoilers.

I liked Caroline right from the start. She is a strong woman who is going through a tough time. Her mom has  Alzheimer’s so Caroline moved back home to help out her parents. The story takes place over the summer when Caroline opens up the family bait shop since her mother can no longer do it. One day when she opens shop she notices someone over at the old gas station across the street, the station that has been closed for years. With her trusty dog at her side she yells at him not to break in or she will call the cops, and that is when she meets Noah.

Noah is a pretty interesting character himself, and adds a little mystery and intrigue to the small town. I liked him a lot. Caroline and Noah together are even better than they are apart. I just wish there were a few more steamy scenes between them.

Just Fine with Caroline is a great light and fluffy read with a few serious moments. It has some long buried secrets between its pages that are bursting to get out for you to discover. Even if most of them are predictable, they are revealed at the perfect pace. I also think the author does a good job at showing how hard Alzheimer's is on everyone involved. I had a grandma with Alzheimer's and it was so very hard to see her suffer and all of my extended family suffer.

As for the setting, the Ozarks really shone through the writing. I could just imagine myself there. I have been there before in real life so I can say with confidence that I think the author did a great job at capturing the feeling and energy of the place.

I enjoyed reading Just Fine with Caroline and think many others will as well. It's a great book to snuggle up with on a rainy day. I know I plan on reading more books by this author in the future.

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