Review: A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas

A Place Called Harmony by Jodi Thomas
Series: Harmony (# 7)
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 320
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review

 

 

New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas has captivated America with her novels set in the small town of Harmony, Texas. Now she tells the story of the three hard-luck men who first settled the town, a place where last chances and long-awaited dreams collide…

Desperate to escape his overbearing father, Patrick McAllen disappears with his bride, heading north to build a new town—discovering strength, honor and true love along the way.

After drinking away the grief from his family’s death, Clint Truman avoids jail by taking a job in North Texas and settling down with a woman he vows to protect but never love—until her quiet compassion slowly breaks his hardened heart wide open…

All Gillian Matheson has ever known is Army life, leaving his true love to be a part-time spouse. But when a wounded Gillian returns home to find her desperately fighting to save their marriage, he’s determined to become the husband she deserves.

Amidst storms, outlaws, and unwelcome relatives, the three couples band together to build a town—and form a bond that breathes life into the place that will forever be called Harmony.

 

Review:   I absolutely adore this series.  Ms Thomas hooked me in book one with the town and characters she created.  And as the series has progressed, the more I want to live in Harmony and know the folks that live there.  In this installment in the series, we take a step back in history to learn about the founding fathers of the town.  As a fan of historical romance, I was excited to take this little jaunt back in time.

I found the idea of some old dude in the middle of nowhere Texas deciding he wanted to start a town and then basically placing ads looking for a couple families to help him make a go of his dream quite interesting.  Even better is how different these families are, and yet they make it work and become a larger family and town.  This story really revolves around three couples that are the ancestors of the characters we know and love from the series.

Clint and Karissa Truman meet and get married just before heading to the settlement, where Clint is basically going to be a hired gun.  Clint needs a wife and Karissa is alone in the world with a newborn and decides to take a chance on Clint.  I enjoyed watching these two very different people dance around each other, not wanting to fall in love, but learning to trust and care as they embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

Next we meet Patrick and Annie McAllen.  Both are pretty young and come from abusive homes.  The new town needs a carpenter and Patrick jumps at the chance to get away from his father.  The love story between Patrick and Annie was so sweet.  They were able to find happiness and purpose when their lives up to that point had been so harsh.   I think these two were my favorite couple.

The final couple is Captain Gillian and Daisy Matheson.  Gillian is a Texas Ranger and ever since marrying Daisy he’s been on the road for his job.  Daisy learns about this settlement and signs them up without Gillian’s knowledge.  She sees it as a fresh start for their marriage away from her overwhelming family.  It was fun following these two as they get reacquainted and dealing with their young family as well as the other couples in this town.  These two pretty much act as the parents in this newfound family/town by taking care of everyone.

Add in a host of secondary characters that just round things out and a new town is born.  I adored Shelly, Patrick’s mute brother.  And Jessie, a teenage girl rescued from a band of outlaws added another facet to this growing family.  For a little more variety, we also got an Italian family who helped get supplies to the town and the decided to make a home there as well.  By the end of the story, a trading post housing one person had grown to a booming town.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  I was pulled in from page one and didn’t want to put the book down.  The book jumps back and forth between these couples as they make their way to Harmony and then gets more intertwined once they all meet and start the town.

As with most series, this book is best read if you’ve read other books in the series as bits and pieces of this history has been dropped in prior books.  However, as it is a prequel of sorts (even if it is number 7, release-wise), you don’t really need to have read the series and it does stand alone quite well.  I highly recommend this book to fans of the Harmony series, small-town romances and historical westerns.