The blurb reads
You never forget your first love.
Even if it hurts your chance at second love.
In Ontario Anjaline realizes her dream of becoming a journalist for one of Toronto’s leading newspapers.
In Hope Valley Gabriel
apprentices to become a skilled carpenter. Together they were two kids in love. Apart they have a chance to grow into the people they
were meant to be. If part of that growth means taking a chance on new love, will they embrace it? Or will they cling to what they once had and miss out on what the future has to offer? And if they do take a second chance on love, does that mean they will never see each other again?
Maybe there is something even better in store for them both.
A Young Adult Romance
I had a not-so-favorable review for the first book and this was the actual book I was reading. I couldn’t help but carry forward the thoughts of the first book into the second one. HERE is my review of Book 1.
The second book seemed a lot more exciting with the introduction of a lot more characters who added depth to the book. I also genuinely felt happy that the characters led their separate lives. When I finished the first book, I was so annoyed because Gabriel was a wimp (The second worst character I’ve ever read in a book, the first being a book by Rachel Ayala called Saving Vera) and I felt Angeline needed to grow up so much.
I genuinely liked the improvements that Anjaline shows as a character in the book. She goes for her dreams, gets her heart broken and meets new people. But I had a grouse! She still held back feelings for Gabriel. This annoyed me. I really don’t understand why people don’t work harder for their relationships. In my opinion, Gabriel seemed like such a control-freak who wanted to keep everyone he loved so close to him, regardless of their dreams. I can’t tolerate that kind of stifling behaviour. So what, if your girlfriend has dreams of making it big and she gets accepted to University, you break up with her, instead of working it out? I felt that the author was trying to sell cowardice off as bravery or maturity because THIS, this very point repeats itself thrice in the second book. THRICE!!!
Spoiler alert, for everyone!
Angeline finds her life changing and she accepts her stepfather, even changes her name to Charity. She starts dating the local football Hero, Kevin. Both of them get accepted into different universities and instead of giving their relationship a chance, or even trying, Kevin breaks up with her!
ON the same note, Gabriel’s character is shown falling for an independent, beautiful lady called Victoria who comes to stay in Hope Valley. Victoria was a marvellous character. She had spunk, she had daring and she was beautiful. Gabriel actually has conversations with her where he says that he wants her to stay in Hope Valley together with him. Victoria once even says to him, “You can’t expect me to stay back here and not follow my dreams because you miss me”. Admitted, it is a little rude, but, Gabriel has been whining here too about Victoria not being a part of his life. And I was so glad, that they broke up. Victoria falls for a local native called Jay, and what she says, is my central problem with Gabriel! She says “Gabriel barely scratches the surface. I am so much more. I can open up with Jay”.
Thirdly, Anjeline or Charity as she is now called, finds love in University of Toronto with one of her friends from school, Tom Sawyer. Both of them get accepted to the National Herald, one of the biggest neTwspapers in Toronto. They also get engaged and STILL she can’t resist sending a mail to poor old Gabriel to seek his approval. At this point, I just wanted to give up. The classic, once you fall in love, you still pine for the same person that you see in chick-lit books or in cliche romantic movies was playing out in front of me. Tom gets an assignment abroad, something he always wanted to do, and Charity breaks up with him because she doesn’t know how to manage a long distance relationship.
I have nothing against the couple or people who do break up because of distance. What does bother me is why don’t you try? Before you break up, shouldn’t you try? This was a major, major point in this book.
Towards the end, there is a section where Victoria is shown so happily enjoying her new job, painting natives and becoming a part of them. She changes her name to a local name and inspite of the fame, falls deeper in love with her fiance and his roots.
Can I help it if I liked a secondary character more than either of the leads at this point of time? When I read the end, I knew what would happen in the third. Despite ALL the twists and turns, Charity and Gabriel would end up together and would miraculously work out their differences and all would be well in Hope Valley.
It isn’t that I hate romance. I do. Look for example at Cristiane Serruya’s work (The Trust Trilogy!) There is significant character development, there is unpredictability and movement. Nobody seems to throttle other people’s dreams and people show extraordinary amounts of character when you least expect it.
This series has mighty well exasperated me enough to just not give it any star ratings at all. If you’re ambitious, then why would you settle for less? Why? I feel exasperated as I write this review because I don’t like bashing up authors. I usually do take the time to think of something, read between the lines and figure out something that I liked.
This book was a vast improvement over the other books but not vast enough. Not At All
I felt the characters were so stifled, they were not genuine. Yes, I can finally pin point it out. Not genuine. Everything about the main characters seemed fake. Their reactions, their over-reactions to situations. I just felt that the book was lost somewhere. And of course Gabriel!! I can’t even stress how important it is for the lead character to be someone who people love. This book, left me so empty on so many counts. So many counts. It appalls me that so many authors write characters who are so weak in character and yet have the female lead slave over them or fall for them. Really!!!
My Rating: 3/5
This rating, I might add, is solely for Victoria and Jay’s love story and for Charity’s love story with Tom, whatever it was. I hate her for breaking up for a fickle reason. Try explaining that to someone who has someone in a war zone. There is pride which overshadows the fear and gives them so much to go on. Needless to say, book 3 is definitely something I am going to give a miss!