I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Cindi Madsen
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Publish Date: January 21, 2020
This book is perfect for those that like: enemies to lovers, horses that show up on porches, and Valentine’s Day.
You might not like this book if you aren’t into: cowboys, nosy neighbors, or mash-up couple names.
When Jemma loses her teaching job mid-year, she’s forced to take the only job available, a temp position in a tiny town she had never heard of before. Completely out of her depth, she finds unlikely help in Wyatt, the gruff, single father next door. After a rocky start, they both start to realize that they have more in common than they think and eventually start to warm up to one another. Except what happens when Jemma’s temp job is over? Can they really find forever?
Confession: I started this book thinking it was going to be a typical know-it-all city-girl who constantly butts heads with the seasoned country guy and after a long battle to win, they’d finally come together.
Y’all, this was anything but that. Sure, there were moments of Jemma being completely unprepared for country-life, but it wasn’t played out for long. She adapts rather quickly to the town- making new friends, trying new experiences, and just generally trying to make do the best she can in her new home, all without losing her identity. The fact that she didn’t come in and try to change anyone or the town to her City Ways was also refreshing.
As for the romance, well, this is Hallmark book, so the heat level is pretty low, however, I will say that in terms of what they generally publish, this was almost racy, lol. There were innuendos scattered throughout and moments where I was legit like, HELLO UST. HOW YOU DOIN’. I also appreciated the fact that there was no beating around the bush, with the initial confession of attraction. It gets laid out pretty straightforward at one point, which made the scene both honest and heartbreaking.
Wyatt was a dream, but then again, Stoic Men Who Grow Feelings are my most favorite. I don’t normally like alternating POVs, but in this case it worked. It helped to know what he was thinking at times and why he reacted in certain ways. Plus, his interactions with his daughter, Chloe were super sweet and I appreciated that he let her be her— girly ballerina and all. Although, I will say that there was a bit of a running joke about girls being “too chatty” that I could have lived without.
The rest of the townsfolk made for a lot of hilarious moments that helped give the town a very charming feel, despite them all being SUPER NOSY AND INVOLVED AT EVERY TURN. Y’all, there’s even a themed coffee drink about the couple at one point. The fine folks of Haven Lake are shameless, but I loved it.
Overall, Country Hearts was a super sweet read with just a touch of UST and angst to give it that little something extra.