The last thing Libby Sawyer and her father expected upon their return from their summer home was to find strangers inhabiting a house that had been in their family for decades. Widower Michael Dobrescu brought his family from Romania to the town of Colden, Massachusetts with a singular purpose: to claim the house willed to him long ago. Since neither party has any intention of giving up their claim, a fierce legal battle ensues between the two families.When important documents go missing from the house, Libby suspects Michael is the culprit. Determined to discover the truth behind the stolen papers, Libby investigates, only to find more layers of mystery surrounding Michael and his family. Despite their rivalry, Libby finds herself developing feelings for this man with the mysterious past. As a decision about the house looms in the courts, Libby must weigh the risks of choosing to remain loyal to her family or give her heart to a man whose intentions and affections are less than certain.
My Take: I love historical romances. I practically eat, sleep and breathe them. They've become a sort of ... meat and potatoes for me. This book is more like... cheesecake. It's rich and with an unexpected tang here and there -- the surprises in the story. There is the sweet topping and the crust as well -- just adding to the complexity of the flavor. Okay, I'll leave the cheesecake metaphor alone now -- I'm getting hungry. lol
The point is this is a decadently rich story packaged between a gorgeous front and back cover. It's thick with tension and symbolism. Michael, Libby, and Mirela all have secrets, the house may hold a secret ... and all the secrets are affecting the present.
Michael and Libby are engaged in this dance (for lack of a better word) around each other. They come withing millimeters of each other and then back away. It's a passionate dance that's also somewhat distrusting and aggressive. I can almost picture them (especially Michael) on "Dancing With the Stars" doing the Paso Doble. The pull towards each other is also a pull away from loyalty to their own family cause because of the legal battle over the house.
The complexity in this book comes from not just the rich characterization of Libby and Michael - or the secrets hidden in everyone's lives - but also from the relationships with all the characters. Libby's relationship with her father and sister-in-law. Even the relationship between her brother and his wife. Mirela's relationship with Michael, Turk, and the boys. Michael's relationship with his boys. Michael's relationship with his absent brother and dead father ... All these shaped the story and the characters and I think it speaks to us about how our relationships shape us.
It was an awesome story, a wonderful romance, a great read. I hope you'll add it to your shelf. It makes my favorites list.