Review: New Leaf by Catherine Anderson

new leafReviewed by Shelly

This is a new-to-me author and when I picked this up, I didn’t realize that it’s part of a series. Thankfully, that didn’t interfere with my enjoyment. I don’t know if the first book in the series was about the hero’s brother or about someone else in Mystic Creek. But I do know that Taffeta Brown and Barney Sterling should be together, just based on their names.

Taffeta’s recently moved to Mystic Creek after a very nasty divorce that left her without custody or even visitation rights to her only child, Sarah. In Mystic Creek, Taffeta hopes to reestablish herself as a responsible and upstanding person so she can go back to court and fight for custodial rights for Sarah.

Barney’s a deputy with the local Sheriff’s department. Yes, he knows about the Barney Fife jokes, and he’s a good sport about them. He’s had his eye on Taffeta since she came to town and opened her store, but he’s not had a good reason to approach her until a funny disturbance call from Taffeta’s neighbors. Getting to know each other, these two find that good things come in ‘entertainingly’ named packages.

After a devastating phone call about Sarah, Taffeta has a daring proposal for Barney. A marriage of convenience. At first, Barney’s not a fan of that idea because his idea of marriage is what his parents have – happy and forever. It’s the one thing in his life he’s not willing to compromise on, that is until he talks to his friend (an attorney) about the court case between Taffeta and her ex-husband, let’s just call him ‘Douche’ from here on out.

Writing this review, I can’t remember Taffeta’s exact age, but she’s relatively young – mid to late 20s. And she’s had a bit of a hard life. It’s a tad cliché, but it worked. The first people she called Mom and Dad were her ex-husband’s parents, so when the divorce came down and the sense of betrayal hit – it stung but Taffeta’s heart wasn’t the vengeful kind. Her only focus was getting things back in order to bring her daughter home.

Oh my goodness, that was a hot mess, let me tell you. Sarah is 5 years old and because Douche has been taking her around his girlfriends who are strippers and hookers, this kid’s already seen too much in her young life. There were moments I’m reading her words and picturing her outfit and makeup (think Alana ‘Honey Boo Boo’ Thompson) and cringing in horror at the things coming out of this kid. And no, it’s not far-fetched. Just turn on your TV and I can guarantee you’ll see the same thing, either on the news or on your local family channel (or what passes for family channel nowadays.) These kids are growing up so fast and never have a chance to just be a kid. But I digress.

Barney’s as good a guy as you can get. He’s absolutely the perfect hero for both Taffeta and Sarah. The things he willingly did for them to be a family was just — pretty awesome. The dynamic with his family, especially his Dad and Mom – it was such an antithesis of Taffeta’s life. That just made their differences stand out so much more. Anderson did a phenomenal job of showing how such different backgrounds and choices don’t make us different people, just people with different experiences. It all made for some very feel good moments and a lovely way to spend a few hours getting to know the folks in Mystic Creek.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: B

*ARC provided via NetGalley by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

New Leaf
by Catherine Anderson
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Signet

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