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Showing 1-10 of 42 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 46 reviews
on August 9, 2012
Pardon me while I dine on a healthy dose of crow. Normally, (and I've never hidden the fact) I dislike the "I'm in love with my brother-in-law" trope. And yet...Sydell Voeller did the impossible. She made me love her characters and believe they belonged together. It's a testament to the emotional pull she created that I couldn't stop turning pages. Joanna is a plucky heroine in a tough situation: her firefighter husband, Kyle, died saving kids from a fire. She's now moved to a small town in the Pacific Northwest to rebuild her life and create a new normal. Enter Kyle's brother, Austin, who made a promise to his brother he's intent on keeping, despite the difficulty of being in close proximity to Jo.
The author makes these two work hard for their HEA and there's an underlying reminder to the reader about the fragility of nature and mankind's often senseless destruction.
A wonderful love story, told with sensitivity and intelligence.
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on September 13, 2012
Joanna Sullivan's was deeply in love with her husband, Kyle, a firefighter. When he was killed, while trying to rescue some children from a burning house, Joanna is heartbroken. To try to get through her grief she makes a desperate attempt to start over and moves to a new town, finds a new job, and attempts to refurbish a dilapidated duplex one year after the tragedy. Then, Austin, her husband's brother, shows up and offers to stay and help her with the much needed repairs. At first Austin looks so much like his brother, Joanna is pulled back to memories of Kyle, but soon Austin emerges as his own man, a man she is falling in love with. When she learns Austin had promised Kyle he would look after her if anything happened, Joanna realizes she is just an obligation to Austin.

I really enjoyed this novel. I finished it almost too quickly, but I appreciated the clean, easy read. It was light and entertaining.
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on August 13, 2012
Kyle & Jo are a newly married couple when Kyle a firefighter is killed in a fire. Jo trying to struggle through the loss can no longer live with the loss living where it happened & moves back to her hometown where her aunt & support is. Kyle's family has thrown themselves into work to survive. So, before moving back she secures a job in her field of study & buys a fixer upper on the beach. Within weeks though Kyle's brother Austin appears after months of no contact. It instantly stirs raw feelings within her & many question of why he is there, why he would track her down & feelings of guilt for not telling anyone she was going. Emotions run high for them both & sparks fly. This is such a raw emotion at times & others just a peaceful experience. I did feel at times I was getting a Eco lesson but it wasn't heavy handed. Overall, totally enjoyed this story.
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on October 19, 2013
I really, really like how the author includes such well-informed details about rescuing wild animals. Gives the story reality and depth.

Both main characters are actually likeable people who do nice things for others. I would enjoy spending time with any of the characters n the book.

There were several quotation errors (characters' words not in quotes properly) which made this annoying to read.

The story is shallow and the characters fall in love abruptly. There are several hokey, contrived scenes - she gets the flu, so he has to take car of her and her aunt is sick at he same time and her big work project is all in the same day but he manages all three problems easily.

The woman's younger sister has no real character development or purpose in the book.

The characters' parents are all conveniently out of the way, to not get in the way.

If this story were fleshed out a little by a good editor, it would be amazing. As is, it's cute enough.
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on March 5, 2015
Joanna was a grieving widow . She was having a difficult time with the death of her fire fighter husband and decided to move away from everything that made the memories harder. She moved closer to her aunt and to a job that she loved with wildlife . One day her brother-in-law showed up to check on her and ended up staying to help her and the community . They found they had a lot in common , he was a veterinarian on leave from his job . He meant only to see her on his way to fish but ended up staying for a month . Joanna although often Austin reminded her a lot of her husband Kyle, slowly fell in love with Austin . When Austin left she was devastated and missed him but her life had to go on once again . When a tanker spilled oil into the water damaging birds and wildlife Austin returned to help with the cleanup . He realized he loved Joanna but how was he to get her to see that truth also . It was very interesting to see what goes into cleaning up waste on beaches to oil spills in the water . It takes a lot of dedication from everyone involved to take care of the wildlife . Also it's very sweet to see a new relationship for Joanna with her brother-in-law , although she loved him not because he look like her husband but because of who he was .
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on October 18, 2013
This book was a quick and it was easy to follow. It is a book about Joanna whose mourning the loss of her husband Kyle and Austin, who has come to fulfill a promise that he made to his brother Kyle.However I found that the dialog about the environment took up too much of the story which didn't put as much focus on Austin and Joanna as I would have liked. It was a good clean book which I often like to read but I would have liked to here more about their healing over the death of Kyle! Over all I would give this book 3.5 stars!
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on November 20, 2013
A sensitive, emotionally packed read of a widow and her brother-in-law getting to their HEA.

Usually, a story in this genre could leave a lot lacking, but not in this case.

This was definitely an engaging read, and Sydell has traversed the extra mile, to patch up all the holes, and provide a solid footing for why this plot makes sense. Two people, both with a strong sense of duty, one trying to overcome her mishap and pick up the pieces of her life, and Austin, who tries to make good his promise to his deceased fireman brother.

Though the volunteering and environmental backdrop came on strong at times, it definitely provided a common thread which the main protagonists agreed on, and thus doing its bit in cementing the relationship between Austin and Joanne.

I definitely liked this second chance HEA read, and will look for more books from Sydell.
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on July 18, 2012
Anyone who reads any of Sydell Voeller's romances is aware of several things. One is that she is an outstanding writer. Her characterizations are excellent, not to mention she has a special way of appealing to the senses. The reader feels as if she is there. I've never been to Oregon, but after reading Ms. Voeller's story, I want to get on the next plane and visit.

"Free to Love" is the story of Joanna, who lost her firefighter husband Kyle in a deadly fire. When Kyle's brother comes to visit, she develops an attraction for him but fights this attraction. She feels that it would be a betrayal of her love for her husband to develop any warm feelings for his brother, Austin, who is a veternarian. Joanna and Austin share a love for Oregon sea life, and this brings them together. But the more circumstances bring Joanna and Austin together, the more she finds herself drawn to him.

This romance cleverly reveals the conflict between Joanna and Austin, but above all, the reader sees the enduring power of love.
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on February 11, 2015
I enjoyed this book so much I finished it in one day. A story of two people trying to over come the grief of losing someone they loved. At the same time it also addresses some environmental concerns of how our throw away lifestyle is harming so many animals. Between their own healing, and helping those around them I wondered if they would ever recognize what they had done for each other and if they would go on from there. It is a great story, one that I can see myself revisiting in the future
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 19, 2013
This is an Amazon freebie and as I like romance, I downloaded it. All I can say and I'm not sure I've ever said it before, this book is boring. I wanted to copy and paste some of the endless details, but it would've taken too long.

+++Spoilers+++
The idea of the book seemed good, the H being the brother of the h's late husband. There being an attraction but the h feels guilty. At times I thought the H was clueless and although he kissed her twice, he didn't put it down to any deep feelings he had for her. In fact when he left town he spoke about popping in to visit an old girlfriend.

Maybe if you are into the whole environment thing and like stories about saving animals, you might get into this one. For me it was tedious, though mercifully short. There really wasn't anything happening at all.
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