Title: Here To Stay (Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan #10)
Author: Catherine Anderson
Publisher: Signet Books
Publication Date: Jan 2011
Paperback: 412 Pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Own Copy
Reviewed by: Laura
RATING: 7/10 – Very good, would definitely recommend
Mandy Pajeck had a tough childhood. Now 28, she feels responsible for the accident that took her younger brother’s sight. But his complete reliance on her care is making them both miserable. When she meets handsome Zach Harrigan and his mini guide horse, she thinks she’s found the ticket to her brother’s happiness-and maybe her own.
I adore Catherine Anderson romances and have read all of them more than once. ‘Phantom Waltz‘ is worthy of a quick comment as it’s my favourite and is really magical. Nearly all of her heroines have a large obstacle to over come in their lives in order to be able to love. This is her writing style. She’s written about abuse as well as mental illness and physical disabilities and each time she has it has been well researched and written with absolute compassion. This book is no exception.
Mandy has cared for her blind brother, who was blinded by a terrible accident she blames herself for, since she was fifteen. The pair have suffered a miserable life from their mother’s abandonment, to the terrible abuse inflicted on them at their father’s hands.
Luke has never come to terms with his blindness or learned how to cope with it. His reliance on Mandy is making them both terribly unhappy and their relationship is no longer a healthy one.
An unexpected bulletin on the local news leads Mandy to local horse trainer Zach. Zach has recently started training a mini horse as a guide for the blind and Mandy sees this as a chance to change things for her and her brother.
This book was a frustrating at the beginning. Mandy’s brother’s behaviour is foul, I would go as far to say that I initially despised Luke. At nineteen, he’s a grown man, not a child and behaviour towards Mandy is deplorable. I also got cross at Mandy for allowing herself to be treated that way, as if she were nothing more than a servant and a doormat. Thankfully, Luke redeems himself as the novel progresses, but he still remained to be one of my less than favourite characters and I struggled to always feel sympathy for him.
I would describe this novel as more contemporary fiction than romance. Which doesn’t mean it wasn’t good or well written, Catherine Anderson continues to be an excellent author, but perhaps not what I expected.
The romance itself was very slow in coming, nearly 300 pages for the first kiss even. What I usually love about Catherine Anderson’s books is the mix of romance with a rich story, but I’m afraid the romance part was slightly lacking. As a couple, Mandy and Zach were very sweet. Zach the gorgeous, cowboy hero. Mandy however, was a little (sorry), of a wet blanket. There were occasions when I just wanted her to grow a bit more of a backbone. But I still enjoyed their story and was fully routing for them come the end of the novel.
What I did find interesting was the elements about Zach’s mini horse training, it could have been boring, but it really wasn’t. The details of his horse rearing business were warm and fascinating. There was also a nice unexpected mystery at the end of the book, that made sure the momentum continued to roll throughout the novel. Overall, this book actually has a lot of story packed into it, and while I did miss some of the romance I was certainly never bored.
Unfortunately this is not my favourite Catherine Anderson novel, but I’m judging this by her standards which are very high. It is still however a very good and well written book and an entertaining read that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
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Books In Series Order:
1. Baby Love
2. Phantom Waltz
3. Sweet Nothings
4. Blue Skies
5. Bright Eyes
6. My Sunshine
7. Sun Kissed
8. Morning Light
9. Star Bright