An avid reader doesn’t need an excuse to enjoy a good book, yet there’s something especially appealing about skipping errands in favor of curling up on your favorite piece of furniture and losing yourself in a story. I think this is doubly true during winter, sitting quietly a welcome change after all the excitement of December. Are you in the mood to revisit a beloved novel, read your favorite author’s newest release, make a dent in your to-be-read pile, or discover a new author?
As a novice owner of a Kindle Fire, I chose to read CROSS MY HEART, a book by Abigail Strom that ranks as the number one contemporary romance on Kindle. Its ranking may have had something to do with the book’s price, a mere ninety-nine cents. But that alone didn’t convince me to give her novel a try. It was Abigail Strom’s website bio, book blurbs, reader reviews, and excerpts that did.
CROSS MY HEART is Abigail’s third book, and the second in the Landry trilogy. The heroine, Jenna, is a singer/guitarist from a recently defunct rock band. She is back home in rural Iowa for the summer, housesitting for relatives. Michael Stone is a divorced, part-time father and workaholic cardiac surgeon who lives next door. They are attracted to each other, but don’t actually have a conversation until his teenage daughter arrives for her two-week visit. The daughter begs Michael to help her meet Jenna, one of her favorite singers. In the end, Jenna teaches Michael about music and having faith in himself as a dad, and he teaches her that love is worth compromise.
Abigail wrote the daughter, Claire with such a realistic teenage personality. The family and other interpersonal dynamics pull at the heartstrings, too, with believable, compelling conflicts. I was rooting for these characters, and I felt that the three of them would make a terrific family unit. I had to keep reading to see how they worked it all out. I wasn’t disappointed.
I finished Jenna Landry’s story only to dive into another Strom book. In WAITING FOR YOU, Jake Landry has returned from Afghanistan after four tours of military duty. He’s a strong man, trying to move forward in his life, but he suffers from PTSD. This prevents him from reconnecting with his family. He rejects his feelings toward Erin, the girl-next-door he’d left behind, determined not to ruin her innocence with his jaded perspective and numb heart. He leaves town after one incredible night with Erin, only to return six months later to learn the encounter had lasting consequences. I cried twice while reading this book; that’s how invested I became in Jake and Erin’s story.
The last of Abigail Strom’s books I’ve read is THE MILLIONAIRE’S WISH. This happens to be the first in the Landry trilogy and was published as a Silhouette Special Edition. I was quickly drawn into Allison and Rick’s lives. Allison is the oldest Landry sibling, and completely turned off to men after a violent ending to her first relationship back in high school. Her youngest sister died of cancer, and Allison has dedicated her adult life to her non-profit foundation helping families affected by the disease. She needs Rick’s money to help keep her dreams alive. He agrees, but on one condition. That condition forces the two to face their personal issues. Eventually, they realize they are crazy in love with each other and are ready to move forward as a couple. This story was satifying overall and answered all my story questions (with inclusion of an epilogue), yet the ending felt a bit rushed compared to the other two.
Abigail’s no-nonsense prose allows the reader to focus on the characters and their journey to their happily-ever-after. Her voice makes for a quick, seamless read. I would love for her to weave in a few more setting details in future novels, especially if she writes another trilogy. Stories where the community essentially becomes another character and part of the plot, as in Jodi Thomas’ HARMONY series, may add even more depth to an already well-crafted book. Then again, that’s just my opinion.
In Strom’s Landry trilogy, the emotional and sexual tension is her forte. CROSS MY HEART has the steamiest and greatest number of detailed, yet tasteful romantic scenes, and WAITING FOR YOU has sex scenes that are not only hot, but incredibly emotional.
In a nutshell, Abigail Strom writes a sweet, sexy, and satisfying read.
Why not sink into your favorite chair and get lost in a story? What will you be reading?