Dogwood Hill, by Sherryl Woods

January 19, 2015 Book Reviews 10 ★★★½

Dogwood Hill, by Sherryl WoodsDogwood Hill by Sherryl Woods
Series: Chesapeake Shores #12
Published by Harlequin MIRA on January 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also in this series: A Seaside Christmas, The Christmas Bouquet, Willow Brook Road
Also by this author: Midnight Promises, Where Azaleas Bloom, Catching Fireflies, A Seaside Christmas, Home to Seaview Key, Swan Point, The Christmas Bouquet, Willow Brook Road

When former pro football quarterback Aidan Mitchell comes to Chesapeake Shores to take a high school coaching job, he's embraced by the town—especially the O'Briens. But Aidan has a secret that could alter all their lives. For wounded Liz March, who's trying for a fresh start after a devastating betrayal, taking a chance on Aidan may be more than she can handle. Her heart, however, refuses to listen to her head. But just when forever seems within reach, Aidan's secret threatens to change everything. Does this tempting stranger who's made her feel alive have the power to convince her to look beyond the past and reach for the future?

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

Review

Three cheers! Woods is back on her game after the disappointing (to me) A Christmas Bouquet.  I enjoyed both Aiden and Liz, the main characters in this newest installment in the Chesapeake Shores series. The chemistry between them is good, though not sizzling (despite several mentions of “sparks”.) Both of them have secrets standing in their way, and in Liz’s case, serious trust issues as well – which makes Aiden’s secret-keeping even more of an issue, something both Woods and Aiden handled well. Aiden’s backstory and reasons for keeping it secret are a bit more compelling than Liz’s. Once I began to figure out her history – or rather, to suspect it – I couldn’t quite see why she was so determined to keep it hidden, though it did indeed explain her refusal to trust Aiden.

Liz’s interactions with her family felt very realistic, though their reconciliation, particularly with her mother, came a little too easily. Still, both the frictions and the love rang true. Woods has a flair for family dynamics, and tends to focus on the strength of family bonds. Since I both come from and married into a family where those bonds are strong, enduring, and highly valued, I appreciate her outlook and the generally positive outcome of most of her family interactions.

Speaking of families, the O’Briens are present in Dogwood Hill, if not quite in force, and of course they’re up to their usual endearing-but-annoying meddling. It’s part of the charm of Chesapeake Shores (both the town and the series), and it’s always fun to watch – though probably not quite as much fun to be on the receiving end! I’m glad that Sherryl Woods hasn’t abandoned the series now that she’s running out of O’Briens.

I rely on Woods for feel-good, small-town romance that doesn’t ignore the hard realities of life, but always warms my heart. I’m glad to say she delivers again in Dogwood Hill.

 

three-half-stars

About Sherryl Woods

Sherryl Woods grew up in Virginia, graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism, and spent more than 10 years in journalism, mostly as a film critic. Dell Candlelight Ecstasy published her first book, Restoring Love, in 1982 under the pseudonym Suzanne Sherrill. The same year, her second book, Sand Castles, written as Alexandra Kirk, was published by Bantam. Silhouette began publishing her books in 1986, at which time Sherryl began writing full time. She is now published by Harlequin MIRA, and her popular small-town romances routinely hit paperback bestseller lists. She has also written two mystery series.

Ms. Woods divides her time between Florida and Virginia. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gardening and watching baseball.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • COYER Winter 2014-2015

10 Responses to “Dogwood Hill, by Sherryl Woods”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I was disappointed with Christmas Bouquet, too, so I was happy to see that this one is, if not quite as good as the very best of the series, at least up there in the middle.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Yes… but I think I would start with some of her earlier Chesapeake Shores books. You get a better sense of the O’Brien family from them. (Just not A Christmas Bouquet.)

  1. Melissa (My World...in words and pages)

    Glad to hear you enjoyed this one. 🙂 Sounds lovely. Hope you are doing well!