Friday, March 6, 2015

Review: Broken Bonds

Broken Bonds (Cold Creek - Book 3) by Karen Harper

Publication Date: 12/20/2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
ISBN-100778317358
ISBN-13978-0778317357

(Received for an honest review from Harlequin MIRA)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes

Karen Harper on the WEB: websitefacebook, goodreads

Books in the series:

Cold Creek

1. Shattered Secrets
2. Forbidden Ground
3. Broken Bonds

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the books in this series.




Excerpt from Broken Bonds, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature

Synopsis:

Haunted by the past…

Join New York Times bestselling author Karen Harper for the third installment in her Cold Creek trilogy!


Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad—even deadly—memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same. 

Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right. 

Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed.

Be sure to catch the first two books in the page-turning Cold Creek series, Shattered Secrets(Book 1) and Forbidden Ground (Book 2) today!


Thoughts:

Karen Harper's Cold Creek series wraps up with the final book, Broken Bonds. Readers who have followed the series, will be pleased that the oldest Lockwood sister, Charlene gets her story here. Harper's depiction of this small Appalachian community, will endear readers to the mountain men and women and their way of life. But, Cold Creek isn't immune to threats from the outside, with local cult activity, a luxury community and sketchy environmental practices, afoot, Char may have found more than just a soft place to land. An interesting addition to the series!

The first two books in the Cold Creek series centered around sisters Kate and Tess and the kidnapping that changed their lives. Now it is their sister, Charlene who needs help. Harper quickly delves into the relationship developing between Charlene, a social worker, and Matt, a business developer. The romance is well written and gives the story a much needed buffer, since the mystery takes in everything from cult activity to the environmental practice of 'fracking'. I think Harper may have been better served by just focusing on one aspect of what was going on in this small community, rather than so many, but it was still a good read, just a little too spread out. 

My favorite part of the story dealt with Matt's luxury community that was being built near Cold Creek and it's possible repercussions on the way of life in the area. Appalachia is not always a place that is very accepting of change and Harper does a wonderful job showing the life of these mountain people and their struggles. A luxury community may not seem like a big deal to many of us, but I think Harper did a great job of showing the reader how important this was to the town as a whole. The type of people it introduced into the landscape and even the questionable business practices it brought with it. The attempt on Matt's life and Charlene's help in bringing the mystery to a head, was interesting and well written.

Harper wrapped up most of the ongoing story threads including the local cult activity, but this seemed a bit distracting from the real issue of the current book. It didn't tie in as well as I would have liked. Also the environmental practice of fracking, especially in the Appalachian mountains, could have had it's own entire book, and still not scratched the surface of this issue. I think Harper did a good job of describing it, without necessarily passing judgement, but it was too easily dismissed, in my opinion.

Bottom Line:

I can't pinpoint anything that I actually disliked about the novel. I do think it is imperative to the reader to read the first two books in the series before reading this one. The Lockwood sisters have a lot of history here and I think you miss something by not having that as reference point going into the third book. This one didn't have that 'wow' factor that I need in a good romantic suspense novel. There were parts of it that were gripping, like Matt's truck hanging off the cliff, but there were other parts that seemed to divide the focus of the book too far. 

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!




About the Author:


Karen Harper is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of romantic suspense. A former Ohio State University English instructor, she now writes full time. Harper is the winner of The Mary Higgins Clark Award for her novel, DARK ANGEL. She also writes historical novels set in Tudor England.  Please visit or write her at her website at  www.KarenHarperAuthor.com

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