Edgewater Road by Shelley Shepard Gray @ShelleySGray @BlackstoneAudio @sophiarose1816

Posted May 1, 2022 by Sophia in Book Review / 18 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Edgewater Road by Shelley Shepard Gray @ShelleySGray @BlackstoneAudio @sophiarose1816Edgewater Road by Shelley Shepard Gray
Series: The Rumors in Ross County #1
Published by Blackstone Publishing on September 14, 2021
Genres: Romance
Pages: 289
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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When Jennifer Smiley’s grandmother, Ginny, leaves her an old farmhouse on Edgewater Road in seemingly quiet Ross County, Ohio, Jennifer can’t pass up the opportunity for a new beginning. Almost immediately she meets a group of men who generously help her move in. When she realizes that they work for Lincoln Bennett, her next-door neighbor, she’s intrigued. Lincoln is gorgeous and has dark, lapis-blue eyes she could get lost in . . . but he doesn’t seem all that friendly. She’s torn between getting to know him and sticking with the solitude she knows so well. Maybe she could let down some of those walls she’s built around her emotions?

Lincoln Bennett likes to keep his head down and get his work done. He’s been to prison and he knows that a lot of folks don’t take kindly to a man with that kind of history. Plus, he’s busy helping other ex-cons get back on their feet. But when he meets Jennifer, he can’t help but feel an instant attraction. Will she be able to look past his unsavory history? Will she be able to accept the men he’s working so hard to help?

While Jennifer gets to know Lincoln and his friends, she also begins to unravel her grandmother’s story, putting together the pieces from scraps of memories and things she finds in her new home. She soon discovers that Ginny Smiley harbored some dark secrets on Edgewater Road—and that those secrets include both Lincoln and her own absent father. Is learning the truth worth the heartache it could bring?

A reclusive woman inherits her grandmother’s home- and her secrets. Moving into the house and meeting the startling neighbors is more than upsetting and it might be the catalyst Jen needs to let down her walls and let life in.

Edgewater Road is a first in series by a new to me author.  I spotted this one and impulsively decided to give it a try after reading the blurb.  It had a suspenseful vibe and made me curious and the promise of romance between a sheltered woman and an ex-con who turned his life around already had me rooting for them.

Edgewater Road had my interest early as I met the key players and the situation.  Then it started to lag.  It was odd, but paths that were interesting as they developed never led anywhere.  There is a chance that this is because they will come up later in the series so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt that plot develop will progress.

But, what truly had me struggling to get into the story was the heroine.  Jen is portrayed as this sweet innocent who brings out the protector and warm hearts of the ex-cons, but she is awkward in social situations.  I never understood why.  There was no big moment in her past that caused her to be this way.  She has isolated herself to such a point that she’s unused to everyday ordinary interactions.  And, what I thought was real odd for a recluse who keeps people at a distance- she doesn’t get things like people on dating apps can and do lie and it’s not smart to meet a guy from said dating app at an isolated, not very frequented restaurant at night with a dark parking lot.  She pushes away the hero and then gets hurt and confused when he stays away.  She gets stubborn and brave when she should be cautious and gets cautious when she should open up.  There is a damsel in distress about her and she never really grows through the story other than to accept Lincoln and his guys who all tend to look on her as their baking, sweet angel.

On the flip side is Lincoln who has his flaws- obviously he made big mistakes in his past.  I felt like the reader gets the context of all that happens in the present because his past from childhood in an abusive home and what he is working to do with his program as well as his faith are laid out as background, but Jen is only given the tip of the iceberg when it comes to him.  Lincoln never shared much, even what he was doing and that he’d be unable to drop by or text for a few days.  He ran hot and cold as a result.  I had no idea, beyond attraction, what the pair based their deepening romance on.

Now, all that said, I didn’t want to toss in the towel and I was still drawn into wanting to see the story through and see what comes next.  I liked assertive and generous Lincoln with the emerging warm-hearted Jen.  I am dying to know what all Ginnie and her rotten son were up to as well as further Ross County secrets that might come out.  Most of all, I want to see what comes of Lincoln’s guys in the program and those who are his right-hand help like Bo and Seth.

So, while this story often left me scratching my head or frustrated there were equally moments that had me wholly engaged and loving what I was getting.  Lincoln is a Christian and his faith is what helped him change while in prison, but I wouldn’t call this an inspirational romance.  I also hesitate to call it a romantic suspense since there isn’t much suspense though it does have that tone at times.  So, I’m going with sweet contemporary romance with suspenseful overtones to guide how it will fit other readers.


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Posted May 1, 2022 by Sophia in Book Review / 18 Comments

18 responses to “Edgewater Road by Shelley Shepard Gray

  1. It sounds as if the author needed the character to behave in certain ways, but didn’t create a backstory that supported it, or a consistent personality style. That would frustrate me, too. But I’m glad you enjoyed the story overall enough to want to read the next one.

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