Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Review of Trouble in Store

Here's a description of the book from Bethany House:

"Fired from her most recent governess position, Melanie Ross must embrace her last resort: the Arizona mercantile she inherited from her cousin. But Caleb Nelson is positive he inherited the mercantile, and he's not about to let an obstinate woman with newfangled ideas ruin all he's worked for. In hope of turning her interest elsewhere, he determines to get Melanie married off, and luckily, there are many single men in town quite willing to take her off his hands.

 The problem is, Caleb soon realizes he doesn't want her to marry any of them. He's drawn to her more every day, and he has to admit some of her ideas for the store offer unexpectedly positive results.

But someone doesn't want the mercantile to succeed, and threatening words have escalated into destruction and danger. Will Melanie and Caleb's business--and budding romance--survive the trouble that's about to come their way?"

My Rating


My Review

The story begins with Melanie Ross as a governess, struggling to keep all of her charges under control and ultimately being betrayed by a lie told by one of the boys. With very limited options, she clings to the hope of a new beginning out in Arizona territory, where she's sure that her deceased cousin's business partner will give her work at his store. While Melanie imagines that her most difficult challenge is simply getting to Arizona, she quickly discovers that there's much more "trouble in store" in convincing the current owner to give her a chance.

It took a little while for the story to really draw me in, as I'm not overly fond of governess stories and I was eager for Melanie to get to Arizona. But I soon discovered that the synopsis fails to mention the fact that Caleb is a father. For most readers, I'm sure this wouldn't really be a bother. For some reason, though, I'm generally not a huge fan of romance stories with children, as it creates a different dynamic. (Not a bad one - just different!)

All in all, though, I didn't mind Levi (Caleb's son) being a part of the story. I just would have liked to see his character bring out more in Melanie's character, as there was so much potential regarding Melanie's fears and concerns and growth, but I didn't really feel like it was explored to its fullest in a way that would have left me satisfied.

As for the suspense, the various secondary characters make the guessing fun and the outcome interesting, and the mob mentality that occasionally takes over offers a subtle cautionary theme. There were times, though, when I wished for more in terms of the danger and the romance.

Both of Carol Cox's latest Western romances are clever, but I confess to loving Love in Disguise quite a bit more than Trouble in Store. They're both enjoyable reads, but the former's romance, suspense, and theme came together in a way that pulled me in and made me overlook the bit of cheesiness because it was just so fun with such a heart-warming ending. In contrast, Trouble in Store didn't pull me in enough to overlook the formulaic and familiar nature of the story. It's a sweet and intriguing read, but it didn't completely meet my hopes and expectations.

*With thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC e-copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Note ~ This book will be released June 2013.


Rissi said...

Much thanks for this great review, Amber!

I hear you on the synopsis failing to mention a child. Long time ago, I read one like that. Don't remember what book it was or who by, but it took me by surprise. Kids in romances don't "bother" me and in fact can help the story if handled well. On the other side, if not, they are be a burden on a story. My WIP has kids but they aren't the leading characters so that makes a difference also and allows for new dynamics.

One of these days I AM GOING to read Cox's 'Disguise.' Soon.

Amber Holcomb said...


You're very welcome! My review might sound a bit harsh, and I wavered between giving it 3 or 4 stars (on Goodreads and Shelfari) before deciding on 3... It wasn't a bad read, but I guess I had high hopes after how much I loved Love in Disguise. This one just didn't stand out to me or draw me in as much, although I still enjoyed it overall. :)

The same "mention of child missing in synopsis" thing happened to me with Over the Edge by Mary Connealy. I guess the romance and other elements of the plot sometimes take up a lot of synopsis space, but still - I would generally like to know if there are children who are in the story right from the get-go. :) I agree that if children are a part of the story they should be well-incorporated (etc.).

That's super cool to get a little glimpse into your WIP! Children can certainly add new dynamics. :) Looking forward to hearing more someday!

And I hope you love Love in Disguise as much as I did!! I think maybe the book got mixed reactions because of the nature of the plot, but I personally really enjoyed the adventure and how it all turned out. :) Hope you do, too!


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Amber, I'm with you. I think that children in the story make different dynamics and generally I prefer not to have them either. Although Missy Tippen,in her Rita finalist book, A House Full of Hope did an excellent job with the children.

Amber Holcomb said...


Glad I'm not alone in thinking that! And that's good to know about Missy's book - you Seeker's are all so talented. :)

Thanks for stopping by!