Friday, September 28, 2012

Midnight Promises by Sherryl Woods

Title:  Midnight Promises
AuthorSherryl Woods
My Rating: B

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Sweet Magnolia #8
Main Characters: Elliott and Karen
Release Date: June 2012 
Publisher: Mira
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
When Elliott Cruz first courted struggling single mom Karen Ames, it it was a romance worthy of any Sweet Magnolia fantasy. The sexy personal trainer made it his mission to restore Karen's strength—physical and emotional—and to charm her children.

Now, a few years into the marriage, colliding dreams threaten to tear a few years into the marriage, colliding dreams threaten to tear them them apart. Elliott's desire to finance the business opportunity of a lifetime with their hard-earned "baby money" stirs Karen's deep-rooted financial insecurities. It's the discovery that their brother-in-law is cheating on Elliott's sister—and thinks it's justified—that puts their irreconcilable differences into perspective. Will their own loving fidelity be a bond so strong they can triumph against all odds?

My Review:
I probably never would have picked up this book on my own because I haven't read the other 7 books in this series and this particular book is about a couple who are already married. That would have been a mistake because this was a completely enjoyable book to read. Even though I haven't read any of the other books in the series, I never felt lost. This is a completely stand-alone novel and is great by itself. More than a romance novel (although there is definitely romance to it) this is a book about a small town and what it takes to make relationships (all types) work.

Elliott and Karen have been married for two years. (I need to look back and see if their's was one of the earlier books. I have a feeling it is because it doesn't sound like their courtship was an easy one.) They've been married long enough that they are having to make truly hard life decisions and are not sure how to handle the different ways that they each approach them. Elliott's immediate response is as a take charge alpha-type and protect Karen from everything (i.e. not tell her) until he has it all figured out and settles as to how things are going to work. But Karen's first marriage was filled with secrets and lies and she can't handle that from Elliott...even when what he has to say is going to send her into a panic. 

Karen has a phobia about money. Her first husband left her with a pile of debt that she knew nothing about until after the divorce. And now Elliott wants to invest in a new gym in town with a group of other men, also putting up capital. As a physical trainer, the gym would be Elliott's baby and it's most definitely his dream, but it's going to require all their savings, plus going into some major debt. I really liked them as a couple. They are most definitely having troubles communicating, but there's no doubt...ever...that they completely adore each other and want their marriage to work. They're just dealing with real pressures of learning how to become a true partner to another person. 

In the midst of all that is this great community/town called Serenity. There are a core group of women called the Sweet Magnolias who get together for girls nights and drink margaritas (my kinds of women). It's most of their men who are building the new gym in town. I really liked the variety of characters and that's before we get to the Senior Magnolias who were simply a hoot. There are a LOT of side characters in this, but amazingly, I really never got lost in who was who and the main way that they all related within the town. It was definitely just a great book for those of you who enjoy the small-town romances.

I received a complementary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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