This book is part of the ‘Pine Cone romance’ series by three different authors: ‘Take my hand’ by Missouri Vaun, ‘Take a chance’ by D. Jackson Leigh and ‘Take your time’ by V.K. Powell. This series follows the lives of three friends: Clay, Trip and Grace in the small town of Pine Cone, Georgia.
There are series written by an author that usually need to be read in chronological order, series of standalone novels by different authors under a common theme, and the ‘Pine Cone romance’ series which is a bit peculiar. In this series the three different authors decided to create three romances (one in each book) but with the three stories overlapping. For example, if the three friends share a scene, it will appear in all three books but with a different point of view. D. Jackson Leigh says in her acknowledgements that it was arduous to write. Well, sometimes it’s also arduous to read. I personally found some issues, one is that after reading the first book (whichever the order) the reader has sometimes a sense of deja vu, a feeling of having read that before because… they read it in the previous book. It works fine in some scenes as it gives other characters’ perspectives but in other cases it is tedious. Also, some events that overlap in the books give information that act as spoilers for the other books’ stories which is a bit annoying. Finally, I found that there are a number of unresolved secondary plots which are main plots in the other books, so in order to grasp the full story, you need to read all the series. So I guess readers can rate each book separately but also the series as a whole. Due to these problems appear throughout the series, you’ll see some of my comments repeated in the other reviews.
‘Take my hand’ is the story of Clay Cahill, a gifted painter who escaped success and a cheating girlfriend in New York. She goes back to her hometown of Pine Cone, Georgia working as a tow truck driver for her grandfather. River Hemsworth is a gallery owner in New York who inherited a local gallery and a house in Pine Cone. Her plan is to sell the property fast and go back to NY but when she meets Clay after a minor car accident she cannot deny her attraction. But Clay holds too many secrets and River is settled in NY. Will they have their happily ever after?
This is a rather formulaic romance between stoic butch Clay and damsel in distress femme River. There’s no doubt where the plot takes us with exception of a small twist near the end. Ms. Vaun knows how to build the main characters’ chemistry and the intimate scenes are hot. The secondary characters are a bit flat but the clash of cultures between North and South USA is well written. However, the resolution of the conflict seems rushed and the story could have done with a few more chapters to wrap it up better.
Overall, an ok butch-femme romance read set in a small town in Georgia. 3.5 stars.
ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.