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mlleelizabeth

Liz Loves Books

I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.

Sweet Water - Anna Jeffrey Sweet Water is a well-written stranger in a small town romance. It is very angsty. I needed a tissue box by me the entire time I was reading it. Ms. Jeffrey does a better job of creating complex characters and showing rather than telling than many authors. She's also brought west Texas and its desolation to life here. The small town setting is filled with quirky characters that are generally believable rather than grating. I enjoyed this book. I would have given it five stars except for one thing: the resolution of the plot didn't work for me. I feel the events that end the story just don't flow naturally from what went before and I can't imagine them happening in real life. I'll explain why behind a spoiler tag below. Despite that one flaw, this is one of the best romances I've read this year. I became completely wrapped up in the story while I was reading it and the town seemed like a real place. I do want to emphasize again the necessity of tissues. The setting is desolate and isolated. The situation for most of the characters is nearly desperate. And I loved it.But ... I just cannot bring myself to believe the HEA. Actually it goes a little further than that. I can't even believe the events that create the HEA would have happened. The hero and heroine have parted ways (as they often do in romance novels). The hero discovers he cannot live without her, tracks her down and proposes within minutes of finding her. All standard for romance novels. The problem is that the author has written lifelike characters who would not do these things. The heroine has serious abandonment issues and has the most believable case of avoidant personality disorder I've ever come across in a romance novel. Avoidants DO NOT take risks with anything important (in this case it's both her job and her heart). She's already done exactly what I expected her to do: push him away before he can reject her then burned the bridge to make extra sure he won't track her down just to reject her. Or maybe get back together and reject her later on. She very effectively burned the bridge so I really couldn't believe he'd come back. And she really fears rejection so I couldn't believe she would take him back. At least not without therapy and there's no mention of it. Also as a minor quibble, she's described as having what seems to be an Executive Chef position at a country club in a small city. She has no degree, not even an Associates degree, and I'm pretty sure that would be required since it involves some management of the restaurant. I wish I could believe she got this wonderful future. Instead I saw her frying eggs at a denny's and going home to a dull but functional apartment to care for her Alzheimer's afflicted mother. For years and years until mom'm medical bills forced them into complete destitution. I was in need of a second tissue box after realizing this. I still loved the book. These characters really are so well written that even being flung into depression didn't keep me from loving it. Obviously it pushed some of my buttons. It may not resonate quite as well with other readers.