My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.
HOPE IGNITES is the second book in Jaci Burton’s new small town romance series, where each book tells the story of how a character living in the town of Hope, Oklahoma, finds his or her true love. The first book, HOPE FLAMES, introduced us to the town and several of the people living there, focusing on the McCormack brothers and their extended friends and family. Officer Luke McCormack’s romance with town veterinarian Emma Burnett was in the first book, and in this book we get to see what happens when his brother Logan falls head over heels for a genuine movie star, in spite of his own damaged feelings about love and marriage.
Because the mother of the McCormack brothers had left both her children and the town of Hope years before, never to return or even remain in contact. Her shocking departure with another man came only days after the tragic death of their father, and that had made her abandonment of them all the more deeply scarring. In HOPE FLAMES, it was Luke who had to move past both his mother’s betrayal and a previous failed marriage to trust another woman with his love. Now it’s Logan’s turn, and his is all the more difficult because he’s now the one running the family ranch, and hatred of life on the ranch was one of the main reasons his mother had wanted to leave. So why would a woman accustomed to the glamor of Hollywood and the thrill of traveling all over the world ever want to give all that up for the likes of him?
But Desiree Jenkins isn’t your stereotypical movie star. She was raised as a military brat, with her father transferred to all different sorts of places, and never got to live in one place for very long. Her life as an actress began when she got to stay at one high school long enough to discover her love of the stage. It was only when Des moved away from her family to Hollywood that hard work and more than a bit of good luck led her to a career in motion pictures. She’s been making movies steadily for almost seven years now, concerned that any sort of break would let audiences forget about her, and the movie she’s making on Logan’s ranch is just another one before the next one begins. But the idea of life on a ranch appeals to Des in a way she hasn’t experienced before, and it makes her wish she had such a peaceful unhurried place where she could settle down and enjoy its quiet beauty.
When Des encounters Logan one morning as she returns from her morning run, it’s his looks which grab her attention, and they both soon discover that the attraction is definitely mutual. But as she and Logan slowly move past their initial inhibitions to embrace an enjoyable, albeit temporary, sexual relationship, it’s going to take more than good looks and good sex to help them both realize that what they have now could last beyond the day when her movie wraps production.
Not everyone enjoys reading small town romances, and I agree that these stories can be annoyingly trite and clichéd if not done well. But in the right hands, a romance set in a small town can be the best sort of comfort read, one where we know what we’re going to get and can’t wait to see exactly how it will play out this time. Both HOPE IGNITES, as well as the previous book, HOPE FLAMES, are this type of satisfying romance where we root for each new couple in a place where everybody knows each other’s past and present, but nobody knows what the future might bring. Both Desiree and Logan have entirely reasonable concerns about their own future together even as their bond grows stronger, and the book never makes light of those issues, or attempts to skim past them. In the end, however, it’s Des who has to lay her cards on the table, leaving Logan to decide which is stronger: his fear of abandonment, or his love for Des.
HOPE IGNITES shows us the best traits of a small town romance, with an ending that’s perfect for its hero and heroine. I can’t wait to see what Jaci Burton has in store the next time we get to visit a place called Hope.
Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level: 3