Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.
As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.
Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.
SERIES: Cold River #1
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction
PUBLISHER: William Morrow Paperbacks
RELEASE DATE: October 11, 2016
“There’s simply no place left to put secrets around here.”
Caroline is in for a surprise. Because, as it turns out, there ARE plenty of secrets left to be discovered ’round Cold River.
Just Fine With Caroline reminds me a lot of the movie “Sweet Home Alabama” – not in its plot or anything – but in its characters and its style and its rhythm. And thinking of Noah as Josh Lucas is just fine with me 🙂 The characters are definitely vivid, and the cadence of their dialogue is smart and sassy. Even in the more serious moments, there’s just something likable about most of these characters that keeps you smiling.
Despite its apparent lightheartedness, Just Fine with Caroline actually deals with some pretty deep topics. Domestic abuse, infidelity, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. These don’t weigh down the story though; rather, they enhance the emotion you’ve already invested in the characters and keep you turning the pages for more.
The romance between Caroline and Noah is an added bonus and even though their initial chemistry isn’t all that palpable their friendship is. I did think that Noah seemed a lot more in love with Caroline than she with him, even though the story is from Caroline’s perspective. It’s obvious that Noah can’t help himself – he’s so head over heels for her that he has to kiss her and pull her close, etc. But Caroline just sorta seems to go with the flow.
Bottom Line: Just Fine with Caroline isn’t necessarily the story I expected it to be, but that’s not a bad thing! I enjoyed the characters, their friendships, and the glimpse at life in the “hollers” of Missouri. The set-up for future books in the series looks like some people are gearing up for a whole heap of trouble, but with this cast of players it should be no less than highly entertaining!
Reviewer’s Note: Readers should be aware that there is some pretty strong and prolific profanity used throughout the novel, as well as brief (though not graphic) scenes of an intimate nature. The language especially was a bit beyond my own personal level of preference but it does not affect my rating of the book’s quality in any way.
(I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 3 stars / Liked it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion
Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.
Other Books by Annie England Noblin
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