The Love of a Stranger
Anna Jeffrey
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The Love of a Stranger

Anna Jeffrey
352 pages
April 2004
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Doug Hawkins moves to the beautiful mountain town of Callister, Idaho, after a scandal interrupts his career as an LAPD policeman. Seeking the company of his old high school friend, Ted Benson, a Forest Service ranger, Doug is looking forward to peaceful surroundings and quiet neighbors. Unfortunately, his first outing with the local barkeep, Cindy Evans, leads him to an isolated cabin on top of Wolf Mountain for an afternoon tryst — which might not have been so bad except for the madwoman who comes after them, attacking his new truck with a tire iron and ordering them off her property. Seems that Cindy Evans has been there before — with the lady’s ex-husband.

Alex McGregor lives alone on Wolf Mountain, dividing her time between Callister and Los Angeles, where she is a real estate mogul. But more and more, she is drawn to Callister and seriously thinking about relocating there. She loves the majestic beauty of the mountains and cares deeply about preserving the environment. When her husband Charlie’s ex-partner, Kenny Miller, tries to force a logging road through her property to get to his trees, Alex decides to take him on. While consulting her friend, Ted Benson, about the problem, she is formally introduced to the hunky jerk that she threw off her mountain and is surprised that he could be Ted’s friend.

Doug soon learns of the problems between Alex and Kenny and decides to make her problem his own as he learns of the town’s reluctance to go up against Kenny because of jobs; that, plus the fact that Kenny is just plain mean. As he gets to know her better, Doug is convinced that this prickly pear is worth the trouble, and Alex begins to believe that maybe at least one man can be trusted after all. When Charlie burns to death in the mountainside cabin, Doug believes he was murdered and is determined to find the murderer before he hurts Alex.

The author does a great job of mesmerizing the reader with descriptive details of this magnificent setting. And she is superb at creating the different layers of her characters, such as Alex’s fears of getting involved again and her pain at losing someone so dear to her heart. But the plot moves so slowly that the story just feels bogged down and I found myself flipping pages to get to the end. After enjoying Jeffrey’s first book, The Love of a Cowboy, and anticipating another great read, this one was extremely disappointing.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Vivian Outen, 2004

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