Her Homecoming Wish | Matt’s Smut Vault

Welcome back to the Vault! We’re softening the edge for today’s edition, as we’re hitting more on the side of romance than our more “traditional” erotica. It’s a rare opportunity to review a true Harlequin novel, so let’s just jump right in with both feet and get busy. Can the Big H still bring the heat with so much quality competition available on the market? I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to pull up the stakes and head to another small town backdrop…

Her Homecoming Wish by Jo McNally is a second chance romance set in the quaint but beautiful community of Gallant Lake. Mackenzie, better known as “Mack” has relocated to this hometown after a nasty divorce with a fresh attitude. No more country club living and turned-nose attitude for this one, she’s here to live life a little more on the real side, and maybe get a little more wild. While helping out at her father’s liquor store, Mack looks for some late night refreshment via a top shelf bottle of scotch. While arranging her nightcap, Mack is suddenly grabbed and thrown up against a wall by an intruder, with a weapon drawn to her throat. Is this a madman on the loose? She could only be so lucky, as it’s actually town sheriff and former town bad boy “Danger” Dan Adams thinking he just nabbed a midnight burglar. This is one hell of a misunderstanding, but after a brief exchange it’s easy to see there’s something milling around in the background all these years later. Something tells me it’s going to work out for these two, but what what kind of journey will we take to get there?

The romance presented here is of the slow burn variety, with a more traditional novelization in both pace and perspective. The main theme beyond the romance would have to be the culture of small town America. There’s a lot of painfully real similarities to small towns across the United States, and most of them are unpleasant. I’ve never viewed the “everyone knows everyone” concept as a positive characteristic of a community, and in most cases neither does the novel. Everyone in this town is a self interested cock, and that includes the main characters themselves (save for Dan’s friggin’ adorable daughter who carries this book as the best character). Mackenzie was a stuffy bitch who looked down on small town life when she was younger, and now that she’s experienced heartache from a nasty upper crust divorce, she seems to expect the town to fully embrace her new found quaintness. In fact, if you didn’t know her (which of course the whole town does already, mind you) the only positive quality anyone shares about her is that she’s hot. When not whining about her father’s life choices, she’s fretting about what’s going on in Dan’s head as they find more and more excuses to share each other’s company. Sheriff Dan makes no bones about being a distant-minded work obsessed ball-bag of a cop, but Mack won’t let that character flaw stand in the way of her meddlin’. There’s a significant drug problem plaguing Gallant Lake that’s eating away at Dan’s soul. Sure, people overdosing on this potent contraband is tragic, but Dan’s seems more concerned with how this makes him look as the self appointed savior and protector of his hometown. While it’d be shit to know any of these people in real life, the author does a great job of presenting reasons why these people suck so hard. If you treat each character as a deeply flawed antihero, everything makes sense and you can identify with the love that slowly blooms out of the garbage heap that is the interpersonal characteristic of this little corner of Americana.

Verdict: Her Homecoming Wish by Jo McNally is a hauntingly realistic look at small town America and the love that can emanate from its background. The love presented here is as slow as the culture from which it’s derived, and the author makes character exploration the chief component of the story telling. There are many uncomfortable moments as you learn about who these people really are, but it’s presented in such a realistic fashion, that it must be praised for the reactions it’s generated from this reviewer alone. It’s not a town I ever want to visit myself, but I’m interested in learning more about this community and the people who reside there…just from a good safe distance through my trusty e-reader. Happy reading!

Special thanks to Harlequin and Harper Collins Publishing for providing a review copy of Her Homecoming Wish to TehBen.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Purchase Link: Harlequin
Author’s Page: Jo McNally

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