Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snowbound by Janice Kay Johnson

Category: Romance – Contemporary
Series: No

When a blizzard strands Fiona MacPherson and her students in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, their only hope of survival is to seek shelter at Thunder Mountain Lodge. Their host is John Fallon, a handsome, enigmatic war veteran haunted by secrets and scars that may never heal.

John Fallon never imagined he’d be playing host to this captivating teacher and her eight teenage charges. But when his solitude is shattered by their arrival, his world shifts on its axis. He needs Fiona – but does she need him? There’s only one way to find out. The ex-soldier must find the courage to reach out to the remarkable woman who has transformed his life…

This was my first Janice Kay Johnson book and my first Harlequin Super Romance read. I got this book from Kat (thanks, K!) who liked it as much as Mel did, and since I regard these ladies as Harlequin experts, I was quite confident that reading it would not be a waste of time.

Turned out I was quite right. It was just the perfect thing for me at a time when my reading mood was best described as “erratic”.

This was an easy, uncomplicated, undemanding read. Heartwarming and feel-good, it focused on human relationship. I kept thinking it read like one of those touching movies on Hallmark Channel.

The hero, John, was by far the most vivid character … certainly the one I liked and felt for the most. His pain (both physical and mental) came across brilliantly and I understood and believed his sufferings. Underneath his standoffish demeanour was a decent and generous man - one who was scarred and tortured by what he had experienced in Iraq. He had me cheering him on every step of his way towards recovery and happiness.

Fiona was the nice, good and optimistic heroine who seemed unreal at times. There wasn’t much depth in this character … what I saw in the beginning of the story was the same character I saw at the end. I also found her a little naïve, and one of her students, Dieter, seemed smarter and more collected than her. Having said that, I did believe in her feelings for John and I believed in their love story, so that was a good thing.

I thought the author’s writing style was pleasant and very readable. I liked that she put a lot of realism into the story - stuff that relates to everyday living – to make it a believable contemporary story.

The author also did a good job with the description of the setting. Thunder Mountain Lodge and its surroundings (blanketed by layers of snow) were vividly and beautifully depicted, which put the reader right into the scenes.

I must not forget to mention the secondary characters – Fiona’s eight teenage students. Some were more vivid and played a bigger role than others, but they collectively made the story interesting and provided plenty of distractions – as John and Fiona’s love blossomed. My favourite of them all was Dieter, the intelligent and unruffled sixteen-year-old who saved everyone’s butt right from the beginning. His budding romance with Willow (another teen) was cute and nice to read about.

3.5 out of 5. I like it. An enjoyable, quick and heartwarming story. Sensuality: Tepid


Brandy said...

Aww, it sounds like a nice sweet romance, perfect for a rainy day. (Which I'm in day two of! *G*)

kat said...

Hi J,
thanks for the review. I'm glad you liked it. It's a perfect comfort read for the holidays. I had to smile about Dieter too, at least about the name. It's always awkward for me, when a person has a German name in an American romance without being German.

Anonymous said...

I love love love the cover. I would have bought the books just becuase of it :) And also that it's a romance would aheve helped.

Carolyn Jean said...

This sounds fun. I love when everyday details are in a book, too. It makes me feel closer, somehow, to the characters.

Jace said...

Ladies, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story. The only thing that stopped me from giving it a higher rating was the heroine - she irritated me quite a bit with her cluelessness. *sigh*

Brie said...

This is the second review I've seen for this book recently. I'll have to look into getting it. Thanks for the review!