That Night on Thistle Lane by Carla Neggers
I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.
It was okay. I can see the appeal but it wasn't really for me. I was fine for an average 3 star rating til the end. Then I just sighed and rolled my eyes as the last reveal. Oh well. I think it's okay for what it is but I'm not a fan. I could have liked it more but it didn't work out that way.
I recommend for romance lovers, for Carla Neggers fans, and for a quick, light, easy breezy read. It references classic old fashioned love stories and is clearly going for that type while being in modern times.
If you're looking for fast pace or steamy scenes, I doubt this work since it's so chaste and sparse. There's two scenes, in the middle and end, that totally maybe two pages. Everything else is looks, thoughts, and a kind of kiss.
That Night on Thistle Lane is a cotton candy book.
I haven't read the previous book, Secrets of the Lost Summer. Oops! Well, fuck. I didn't realize this was a series when I entered the giveaway. It can be easily read and enjoyed without reading the first book, especially for those that like Carla Negger's work. Unfortunately, for me I think I should have been more careful. I have a feeling it would be more enjoyable if read in order, since that would give the reader background, history, and attachment to the characters and relationships. I think that would have helped me. Reading over the reviews for that book, it seems Secrets of the Lost Summer focused on the mystery while not delivering on the romance. While I feel That Night on Thistle Lane was more about the Ramen noodle love story of Phoebe than the mystery. The romance is fine if you're looking for the pure insta-love happily ever after story. Again, unfortunately, that's not really my kind of thing. When contained
Characters are fleshed out, the setting is beautiful and a there's a few guffaws along the way. I liked how it kind of poked fun at itself. Realized how people would see fairy tale romance and how regular jaded people would look at it. Moments of "that only happens in romance novels" and "I'm not some character in a book" made me smirk. I found the mystery to be a veneer and merely a vehicle to get the characters moving. It didn't feel all that important. It wasn't the focus and it wasn't attention grabbing. True, I didn't guess the mystery person but I didn't really care. That was peripheral to the focus so the reveal didn't evoke any emotion or response to me.
Pattern in Negger's Stories....?
The reveal at the end of Pheobe's virginity after she sleeps with Noah bugs me. It was like this big moment that suppose to say “D'awwwww, she really loved him! She waited for the right guy and found true love and her first time was perfect.”.
Through out the book Noah is defending himself against being labeled as a playboy by everyone who knows his long list of ex-lovers. While Noah wonders if Phoebe is a virgin and realizes he should be smacked for that thought. Yet he keeps thinking it. Fantasizing about it. Then it's found out she's a virgin and it's like extra super special. He's so happy and honored.
It shouldn't have made a difference if she wasn't a virgin, so why does this all of a sudden pop up? Because of the surprise, it felt out of place. Like it was purposefully hidden to cause an important scene later with the reveal. Maybe everyone knew that from the first book but I didn't read Secrets of the Lost Summer. So reading it as a stand alone, it seems purposefully inflammatory to show how special and important saving yourself for the right person is. How it makes sex better or something.
I've read only two of Negger's other works – the Sharpe & Donovan series. That's more up my alley since it focuses more on the mystery and is more suspenseful. In that series the main character was a novice to be a nun so I understand her choice and her character.
That's the most nagging part to me. Phoebe saving herself for marriage originally and then for true love, it doesn’t fit with what I know about Phoebe and her character. That might be due to reading this book as a stand alone or maybe it was hidden in the first book. It just felt off and while it caused a response from me, I doubt my reaction is what the author was intending.
So the scene failed for me for three reasons:
1. The question Why? is a puzzle to me. I don't see this as fit for Phoebe's character. It came out of left field and only left me confused.
2. I don't find “saving yourself” for marriage romantic or ideal or important or a worth while goal.
3. The idealized version of virgin sex depicted is unrealistic as well which just causes me to go discount the scene every time this comes up. Orgasms the first time with no pain or awkwardness or blood or anything besides perfection? *snort* *eyeroll*
Since this kind of scene is a pet peeve, (which has in Sharpe & Donovan series as well) and Negger's work is average at best for me; I'm going to be more careful and hesitant to read another book from Carla Negger. Maybe I just picked the wrong books to try out or maybe she's just not my kind of author.
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