There’s something about Toni Blake's Sugar Creek that lifts it above the sum of its parts, and I enjoyed more than I expected. I can’t quite put my finger on what I liked - it's
not particularly either the hero or heroine. Perhaps it’s more the overall idea
- that a career woman can return to her dusty hometown in Ohio and rediscover what’s good about small-town life.
Part of what’s good is local
policeman Mike Romo, although initially things aren’t promising. It doesn’t help that there’s an
ongoing family feud between the Romos and Farris families, so when Rachel Farris
first meets him, she’s not inclined to like him. However, a physical attraction soon turns into something more, and she starts to rediscover a different world, one in which she just might want to live.
Unusual about this book is the absence of a ‘baddie’ as such - and not even any great misunderstanding between hero and heroine. It's all quite gently written, with the characters slowly learning about each other and re-evaluating their priorities and past mistakes. There
is plenty of sex in this book - perhaps a bit more than necessary - and that is part of my problem with both characters, who seem fairly egocentric. I also wasn’t too keen on the fact that a sign of Mike’s mellowing
is that he is now able to break the law and to let Rachel off for speeding. This rather diminishes his ‘good guy’
status if he can do favors for his lover, and he himself ignores some of his principles.
Nonetheless, Sugar Creek is a good read
whose gentle pacing makes it right for a quiet day.