Wednesday, February 15, 2012

TBR Challenge - February

This month's challenge is a "recommended read" book. You are going to see some quick tap dancing and some interesting justifying and should there be a prize at the end of this year long
challenge, I should technically withdraw my name from consideration. This isn’t so much a book that’s been in my TBR pile as much as a book by an author that should have been in my TBR pile.

I’ve loved Cheryl St. John books for years and whenever she has a new one come out I scoop it right up – which reminds me – I do believe there should be a new one soon. And I just assumed I had all her back list. So when I read Leslie’s TBR January Challenge and it was The Mistaken Widow, I read it, prepared to nod in agreement or shake my head in disagreement. But much to my astonishment, nothing sounded the least bit familiar and when I checked my Most Excellent Spreadsheet, it wasn’t there. So that very same day I got an electronic copy.

So this was recommended by Leslie but hasn’t been in the TBR pile very long – but should have been.

The Mistaken Widow by Cheryl St. John

Why this one: explained above

Heat Level: there was only one love scene at the end
but it fit with the story so I found it fine

Published: 1998

Blurb: Sarah Thorton wanted to shout, but revealing her true
identity could only bring disaster on herself and her infant son. Still, sorrowful circumstance had turned a mistake into a miracle. She suddenly had a home, a family—and Nicholas Halliday, a man as dangerous to her as he was desirable…!

His newly widowed sister-in-law wore mystery as elegantly as an evening wrap, rousing more than suspicions in Nicholas Halliday—for this beautiful stranger had a claim not only to the family fortune, but also to his heart and soul…!

My Thoughts: Just a couple of weeks ago I reread Joe’s Wife for probably about the 4th
or 5th time and I have to be honest and say I enjoyed that one ever so much better. Though I liked The Mistaken Widow and I’m glad I read it, I don’t think it will be one I’ll read over and over like Joe’s Wife.

I was only meh about both the hero and heroine. Whether I might have had warmer feelings for
them if I hadn’t read Joe’s Wife so recently I don’t know, but Sarah kind of got on my nerves after a while. She was feeling guilty over stepping into the shoes of the heroe’s sister-in-law to the point of almost annoyance. Then when she finally decides to come clean, she does it in a letter and then leaves; a cowardly act in my opinion. On top of that, the letter is stolen by a villain so Nicholas and his mother are still in the dark about what really happened. The decent thing for her to do was tell them to their faces. I’m sure she should have realized they would have been understanding.

And Nicholas failed somewhat in the role of a hero too. He was rather nasty and judgmental to Sarah in almost a passive aggressive way which I didn’t find as a heroic way to act. He should have come out in the open with his suspicions of who Sarah really was. I also didn’t think he suffered enough angst over lusting for his just Very Recently deceased brother’s wife.

I also thought there was a noticeable lack of grief displayed. I know if I were to lose one of my sons, I’d be broken, yet his mother didn’t display the amount of grief I would think she would. But then that’s a personal thing I guess.

I almost hate to say it, but of all the Cheryl St. John books I’ve read, this is one I didn’t ‘feel’ at all. But since it was written in 1998 and I’ve read many an excellent book since then, the fact that this one didn’t work for me is alright and I’m glad I read it anyway since it could have been a Joe’s
Wife kind of book.

Grade: 3 out of 5

And oh, oh, oh - I forgot to mention. If you travel around and see other participants, you will notice a number have chosen the same book! Our fearless Challenge Leader Wendy, SonomaLass, Phyl, and Nath and Leslie did a joint review at Breezing Through. And guess what? They ALL really enjoyed it!


Hilcia said...

Oh Kristie! Sorry this one didn't work for you. I have it in my TBR too, and like you, I've come to love Cheryl St. John's books. I've also re-read Joe's Wife a couple of times since I first read it. *g* I LOVE that book!

LOL on the mass reviews of your recommendation. I say it's a conspiracy. *g* Of course I'm adding it to my "list" of books to read. Everyone loved it. :)

Kristie (J) said...

Hilcia, I was fine with the fact that this one didn't work so well for me. I have loved so many of her books and if I didn't read it, I would constantly wonder if I was missing a real winner.

And i got a real kick out of so many reading the same book. I knew Wendy and Sonomalass were both reading it but Phy, Nath & Leslie were a surprise.

Phyl said...

There's a 1950 Barbara Stanwyck movie called No Man of Her Own that is essentially this plot, only it takes place in the present. It's a pretty decent movie with some suspense as the father of Stanwyck's baby finds her and tries to blackmail her for assuming the dead woman's identity. So I tried this book, too, but I haven't been able to finish it. I'm not sure if it's the book, or just me comparing it to that old movie.

I have gotten such a kick out of all of the Conor's Way reviews today. I'm glad we all liked it.

Kristie (J) said...

Phyllis, it could be a combination of all those. I'm not sure if you've read anything else by this author but if you haven't, don't let this one keep you from trying her as she's one of the best Western authors going.
And what really struck me was how MUCH you all enjoyed Conor's Way. I'm just tickled pink if I had any influence in picking it.

Phyl said...

I should have added that I am a big fan of St. John's. I have read more than a dozen of her books, including Joe's Wife. I agree that's a most excellent book! So sometimes they just don't all work. I'm glad to know she has a new one coming out. I'll be sure to snag that one.

azteclady said...

I'm trying to remember if I have read Joe's Wife yet--I'm pretty certain I have it somewhere in the house...

Leslie said...

I had some problems with Nicholas too. I'm glad I read it but don't see myself re-reading.

Joe's Wife on the other hand is a keeper. It's a hard book to top. Still, I can always find something about Ms. St. John's books to like.

nath said...

I've never read Ms St. John ^_^; I have her books in my TBR pile though and the girls have sent me Joe's Wife. Guess I'll have to remedy to that. Sorry this one didn't work as well for you. When I read Leslie's review, it reminded me of a movie so much...

Oh, I love your justification LOL. Just you, kristie :P

Christine said...

Sorry to hear this was just okay for you... but doesn't it still feel good to knock a book off the TBR pile?

We are surely getting a nice dose of Conor's Way this week aren't we? I'm buying it today myself!

Wendy said...

Take this for what it's worth, because my memory isn't what it used to be....

But when I see mention of St. John's work among fans and other readers, this book tends to be lower on the totem pole. So I don't think it's just you Kristie :)

I have it, need to read it soon. I really enjoyed Joe's Wife, but Prairie Wife is my absolute favorite of hers to date. Maybe I'll feel stronger about this one that you did then? Hmmm.....