Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: For the Longest Time
Author: Kendra Leigh Castle
Series: Harvest Cove #1
Heroes: Samantha Henry/Jake Smith
Genre: M/F Contemporary Romance
Length: 352 Pages
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Available at: Signet, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: For Samantha Henry, it took a ten-year absence to appreciate the close-knit New England town with an appeal all its own….
After a perfect storm of events leaves Sam high, dry, and jobless, she has to head home to Harvest Cove to regroup. Growing up, she was the town misfit, and a brief high school romance that resulted in heartbreak made her realize she was never going to fit in. But now with the support of her mother and an unexpected circle of allies, Sam starts to wonder if she’s misjudged the town all these years.
Life’s been good to Jake Smith. He transitioned from popular jock to town veterinarian without any trouble. But Sam’s homecoming makes him question his choices. The sharp-tongued beauty was never a good fit for the small community, but he’s never forgotten her—or how good they were together. While she makes it clear she’s not about to repeat the past, Jake’s determined to convince her to give him—and Harvest Cove—a second chance.
Kendra Leigh Castle is more popular with her paranormal romance books; in fact, I believe this is basically her debut in contemporary romance. I love her Dark Dynasty series and am quite intrigued to see how this one goes.
Sam Henry returns to her hometown after she loses everything: her job, her apartment, and inspiration to paint. It has been ten years since she left Harvest Cove, and on the very first day that she arrives at her mother’s house, she is reunited with Jake Smith who is now the town vet. Years ago in high school, Jake was the popular jock and she was the misfit. But there was short time when they became close only for Jake to break Sam’s heart.
This is so good! Second chances is one of my favorite romance themes, and this one just fits the bill. I really like that while Sam returns home because of unfortunate circumstances, I never feel like she is actually giving up. Yes, she feels like she is coming home with her tail between her legs, but once Sam realizes that she is making friends, getting a job that she likes, and being in the company of her wonderful mother, she starts to see her town differently.
As for Jake, I like him as well – except for his inability to see how shitty his friends are! Well, duly noted, those friends have been in his life for years, and he never really sees things as an outsider looking in. I’m quite happy, though, that while Jake tries to include Sam in his circle of friends, he is not completely blind about his friends’ bad attitude. Slowly Jake realizes that they are unkind and he needs to cut his losses.
There are lots of entertaining moments here, usually dealing with the behavior of the animals – with Jake being a vet, and Sam clearly falling in love with a kitten she names Loki! For any readers who love pets in their books, this will be such a delightful read. It made me smile several times and some of the dialogue was funny and witty. The romance is wonderfully progressed – and I also enjoy the interaction between Sam and Jake with other people in their lives.
However, I do have few complaints. I am pretty miffed at how Ms. Castle doesn’t quite elaborate what has happened in the past, even until the very end. I’m very curious about what was said to Sam back in high school that ended up with her punching one of Jake’s friends. I kept waiting for that big reveal, but it never came.
Also, I feel like Jake needs to do some grand gestures to win Sam in the end (you know, ‘holding a boom box over his head’ kind of scene) and to show how much he loves her. Although the “proof-of-love” that Jake has is pretty good (though slightly predictable), I don’t feel that it is grand enough.
In conclusion, “For the Longest Time” is a solid start to a series. It provides heartwarming small-town romance with several moments of laughter and very likeable characters (well, except for Jake’s friends *haha*). It also introduces readers to secondary characters with possible romance of their own in the future. I’m hoping for Zoe and her Treebeard!! And as a lover of MM romance for the past several years, I’m also keeping eye on the intriguing possibility of Jake’s friend, Ryan (who apparently is not out of the closet yet) with an artist named Aaron. One thing is for sure, I will be there for the second book coming next year.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*