Come Home to Deep River
by Jackie Ashenden
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Book #1 in the Alaska Homecoming series
Number of Pages: 352
Source: NetGalley ARC
Read 7/14/20 to 7/16/20
Deep River, Alaska boasts a fiercely independent though small population. The people who live here love it, and they don’t much care what anyone else thinks. Until the day Silas Quinn comes back and tells them an oil reserve has been found below the town and now it’s neighbor vs. neighbor. Some want to take the money and run, while others want to tell the oil company to put its rigs where the sun don’t shine.
Hope Dawson never expected to leave Deep River. Her mom needs her. Her grandfather died and left her the local hangout to run. Her dreams of college and adventure died long ago. Until Silas comes back to town, holding the key to set her free. But freedom means she loses him again, and he’s the one she’s really always wanted.
There were a lot of ups and downs for me in this story, but overall I enjoyed the read. I found the world building to be intriguing. The way and reason this small Alaska town is founded lends itself to some interesting characters and scenarios. One of my favorites being the townspeople electing residents as mayor as a kind of punk. It’s an actual running gag to elect people as mayor who don’t want to be mayor. I don’t know what it says about me that I found that delightful.
For the most part, I liked the hero Silas. He was hurt years ago by Hope, even if she didn’t realize how deeply her rejection affected him. For his part, he also hurt Hope by leaving their small town and, in her mind, never looking back. Of course, the rejection and along with other bad memories kept him away. But from where she was standing, her two best friends abandoned her for greener pastures. What bothered me is that she seemed to have so much animosity toward Silas where she was still friendly with Cal. And he was the one who rejected her all those years ago. While I understood the root of her reasons, it bothered me that she didn’t realize for a very long time that she was even doing it. So it took me quite a bit longer to warm up to Hope.
Hope’s mom is a catalyst for many realizations that Hope has, but that woman is horrible. I think, on some level, the reader is meant to have some sort of sympathy for her by the end of the book. I can’t, though. This woman is NOT a good mother. I get mental health issues, I’ve had depression issues myself. If this woman had truly gotten help and was on the other end of things she would not allow her daughter to continue blaming herself for everything. It left me feeling sad for Hope and an all-around icky feeling that everyone seemed to make excuses for the woman.
When it came to the actual love story part of this book, I liked the progression. Best friends, secret feelings, years apart, instant sparks after years apart, the inevitable giving in to their feelings. Hope and Silas do have good chemistry and I enjoyed most of their interactions. My issues with this story had nothing to do with the core romance of the book.
Silas did not act as I would expect an adult man to act toward his business partners. We only really meet one of them, and he was not very understanding to Silas so it was extremely hard for me to imagine them as being best friends and buddies who went through some much together over the last 13 years. I already mentioned my issues with Hope’s mom. And where the heck is Cal’s sister. The only law enforcement in the whole town, during this very uncertain time. So, like I said in the beginning, ups and downs. It’s worth a read if you’re a fan of small-town romance, though. It also made me curious enough about why Cal did what he did and what’s going on with Damon to want to read the next story.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**