Series: Swift River Valley #4
Published by Mira Source: Netgalley
Genres: Alpha Guy, Christmas, Contemporary Romance, Law Enforcement, Romance, Small Town Romance
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Heather Sloan has landed her dream job—the renovation of Vic Scarlatti's stately 1912 country home overlooking the icy waters of Echo Lake in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts. It's the perfect project for the family business, but for once, Heather is in charge.
Diplomatic Security Service agent Brody Hancock left Knights Bridge at eighteen, a few steps ahead of arrest and the wrath of Heather's older brothers. Though Brody had never planned to return, Vic, a retired diplomat and friend, needs his help.
Staying at Vic's guest house makes it impossible to avoid running into a Sloan at every turn—especially Heather. Seeing her again has affected Brody more than he wants to admit. But Heather is wary of Brody's sudden interest in her, and she suspects there's more to his homecoming than he's letting on…
Set against the scenic backdrop of a New England winter, Echo Lake is a captivating tale of family, friends and the possibility of new love.
Another small town romance, with a wintery feel. I wouldn’t necessarily call this a Christmas story, but it is very much so a winter one, and I really liked the small town backdrop and the snow and ice setting of Echo Lake. I also really like the idea of coming back home after a long time away, which is exactly what Brody does in this book. He left town at 18 and never looked back, I don’t think he really ever planned on coming back, but when his close friend Vic is in some trouble, he goes back to his hometown to help out.
Heather has lived in Echo Lake her whole life, she has a very extended family there. She works for her family’s contracting business, and it seems like she has breakfast with her brothers (or at least some of her five brothers) every morning. While this book easily stands alone, it is a little difficult to follow along with all of the names that are mentioned and their prospective partners, even though a lot of them don’t make appearances in the book, they are still mentioned, especially by Heather as she’s lived there her whole live.
Heather is working at Vic’s house to help renovate it so the vast majority of the book takes place at Vic’s house, he’s a retired ambassador, who is having a hard time figuring out how to fill his days now that he is retired. Vic has noticed some odd things though, and it’s making him nervous, hang up calls, items looking like they have been moved around. But no one but Vic seems to have noticed, not even his house-sitter Adrienne. So Vic calls in Brody.
It seems like Brody and Heather have an instant spark when they first meet, and it’s a cute first meeting too, Heather is chasing a puppy through the snow in order to bring him back inside. It turns out that Brody and Heather have a history, or rather Brody and her brothers do. Personally I thought this history is mentioned way to often, especially since it is clarified until much later in the book.
The book does have kind of a slower pace to it, there is a lot of build up. Not just build up in the romance department, but build up in the mystery around Vic’s house as well. There’s a lot of everyday activities taking place within the book, which does help to make the characters feel like ordinary people, but it does keep the pace a little bit on the slow side, which made the book feel pretty long to me. The characters in this book are pretty well developed, and the secondary characters in this book really work, they are definitely not after thoughts, and really help make the storyline into what it is.
Overall, I liked the book, I liked the build up of tension between Heather and Brody and the payoff in the end (although I did kind of thing the end result was too rushed). If you like small town romances, or romances that have a little bit of mystery thrown in, then you might want to check out this book.