Sixteen-year-old runaway Reagan has always wanted a place to belong. She's never had a real home of her own, but perhaps she could borrow someone else's. Under an assumed name and identity, she moves to Harmony, Texas, but keeps her distance from the welcoming townsfolk. Until prairie fires threaten Harmony-and Reagan learns the true meaning of family, friends, and home.This was a good small-town yarn. Thomas does a good job of setting up the atmosphere in the town and the suspense. But what really makes the book are the characters and their relationships.
First there's Reagan, a sixteen-year-old runaway who took care of Ms. Beverly Truman at the Shady Rest Home and in the process fell in love with the town of Harmony and its people through conversations, letters and newspaper articles. After Ms. Beverly passes away, she decides that Harmony is going to be her home and the dwindling Trumans her family. She assumes a false identity and goes to live with Ms. Beverly's cantankerous brother, Jeremiah Truman.
Then we have Hank Matheson and Alex McAllen the Fire Chief and the Sheriff. These two have been friends since childhood, but have a relationship fraught with guilt and hostility. Every Saturday night, while off duty, Alex winds up dead drunk at the local bar. The only person who can and will come to take control of her is Hank. She goes with Hank, but resents the heck out of him. The main motivation behind Alex's actions is guilt over her brother's death, just as a long-time attraction and love are behind Hank's.
And then, we have the undertaker Tyler. His is the quiet story of a lonely man who doesn't seem to relate well to people around him and finds himself relating to a woman on the internet. He doesn't think of himself as having real friends, just customers and their families. His virtual romance is sweet and gives him a great personal boost. The rest of the town is there as a supporting cast and ties up the story.
Out of these three main stories, there were more, the one I enjoyed the most was Reagan and Jeremiah’s. I loved the way young Reagan and the older Jeremiah slowly built up a trusting and heartwarming relationship and become family. Reagan also befriends young Noah, and through him understanding the meaning of friendship and trusting is further reinforced for this young runaway.
Hank and Alex’s relationship has a satisfying end, but it’s a frustrating journey there. Alex feels responsible for her brother’s death, yet in the process of guilt tripping and self-punishment, she also severely punishes Hank. Although I understood Alex’s grief, I saw her actions toward Hank as unfair and senseless and as a result couldn’t sympathize with her.
Tyler’s story was quiet and a bit innocuous, yet I loved the way he rose from the background to become the hero of the piece. I just wish there had been more for him at the end.
In conclusion, Welcome to Harmony, introduces some great characters. The suspense story with the fires set in the town is well done and I enjoyed it. I loved the small-town feel to story and the large cast of secondary characters. Having said that, Reagan's past is still a mystery by the end of this book and Tyler’s situation is left unresolved. So even with all the enjoyable parts, you know there's more to come by the end. This is a quick contemporary read and a good start to this series. I already have the next installment, Somewhere Along the Way, and hope to read it soon.
Category: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harmony, Book 1
Publisher/Released: Berkley-June 1, 2010
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