Review: Jaded by Anne Calhoun

jadedReviewed by Carrie

This author’s novel, Uncommon Passion, made my Best of 2013 list.  So when a contemporary romance by Anne Calhoun featuring a shy librarian and a small town cop came up for review, I raised my hand.  I have mixed feelings with this slow burn of a romance.

Alana Wentworth is running out of time on her grand experiment.  Alana left her research position at her wealthy family’s prestigious foundation to finally use her library science degree.  After a bad breakup and her family’s disappointment, she accepted a temporary position as head librarian in the small town of Walkers Ford to try to stand on her own feet.  Sadly, other than finding fulfillment in being a librarian, Alana hasn’t made much improvement in the relationship department.  With only two weeks left on her contract, Alana sets her eyes on finally nailing the sexy next door neighbor who also happens to be the town’s chief of police and her landlord.

Lucas Ridgeway came back to the town he loved after years on the beat of Denver’s harsh streets as a DEA officer hardened his heart.  He’s aloof, defensive and a little curmudgeonly after his time in Denver resulted in a bad op and his marriage breaking up.  He sees Alana only as a means to an end, but her soft ways burrow in to the part of him Lucas thought was long gone.  Just as Lucas begins to realize Alana’s importance to him and the community of Walkers Ford, she begins to pull away.

Alana was a quiet heroine who seemed to blossom as the story progressed and she found her inner strength.  She was the second to her more famous sister, Freddie.  Despite the difficult mother, I appreciated that Freddie wasn’t an evil sister; the sisters were genuinely fond of and supported each other.  I got frustrated with the cluelessness of her character a bit.  Everyone appreciated and supported her, but she was a bit of a Debbie downer on herself.  She couldn’t possibly imagine why anyone would want to keep her around despite her positively affecting nearly every person in town.

This is a very quiet story. In fact, the beginning was so slow I had to put it down.  I’m glad I picked it back up, because the last 30% really tied everything nicely together.  Calhoun can write the hell out of love scenes but I was waiting for an emotional connection between Alana and Lucas that never really materialized.  Nevertheless, the ending did leave me with a smile.

Grade: C+

*ARC provided by Berkley/NAL 

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Anne Calhoun
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Publisher: Berkley

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