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The Loner (The Canyon Club) (Volume 1) Paperback – July 10, 2015
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" . . . a satisfying sigh-worthy love story at the center of a well-paced plot gets this planned trilogy off to a superb start." --Xpress, Library Journal
"Kate Moore has won me over and I really look forward to reading more books in this series and anything she writes." --Confession of YA and NA Addict
From the Author
I always write "under the influence of Jane Austen." The Loner, set in the L.A. land of palm trees and perpetual sunshine may seem remote from Chawton where Jane Austen penned Persuasion, but Austen's idea of "retentive feelings" stuck with me from that novel. To Austen's Anne Elliot eight years are nothing, for my characters Will and Annie, one touch and one clash of gazes wipes out ten years of thinking they were over each other. Meeting again with more maturity, they still have to work to earn a happiness so blinding it requires them both to wear shades!
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Fast forward 10 years to the class reunion of the Canyon Prep class of 2005. The school is in the red and in desperate need of a bailout. One of Will’s classmates, Josh Huntington, is in charge of fundraising and knows Will has a major bankroll and a major soft spot for Annie. As many things have changed, one has remained the same…Will still loves Annie. But does Annie feel the same? Did she ever have feelings for him? When forces throw the couple together again they must navigate the troubled waters of the past and decide if there is a future.
This is a new author for me but she is certainly not new to the romance writing scene. Moore does a nice job of introducing the main characters quickly and gave enough information about their past to intrigue me within the first chapter.
While the concept of the book is relatively rote – rich man, hurt woman – the history shared with Will and Annie makes this a unique read. In addition to that the cast of supporting characters, mainly Josh Huntington, have their own original story lines intertwined with Will and Annie’s.
At the heart of this novel is a story of redemption and hope, which is perfect for this time of year. That said, this is not a holiday read but it does lend itself to those same warm and fuzzy holiday feelings. And yes, there is sex, but it’s primarily “behind closed doors” making this a good read for anyone uninterested in reading racy sex scenes, but still gets your heart racing a time or two.
There are a few words of caution I would give readers – this is not a “quick read”. I say that because there are parts in which the characters drift back to their pasts and where the scene quickly changes from past to present forcing the reader to slow down and (for me) sometimes re-read a page or passage again to gain clearer understanding.
Also, as I stated before, Josh has a story line brewing in this book (which will continue in Book 2 of the series) but it does take away some of the focus on Will and Annie. While I appreciate Moore is attempting to introduce us to Josh, it is at times challenging to keep up with all the ins and outs of everyone’s lives
I must admit that it took me a little bit to get into this book. It started out a little bit slow for me, and I had a hard time understanding the real motivations behind the character’s actions in the past; however, as the story developed it became clear what they were. I really enjoyed seeing the love story unfold in it’s own way, as subtle as it might be, amidst the backdrop of scandal and revenge. Will and Annie are reunited in an interesting way, and one in which you’re just not sure if you are going to like them as a couple. At least in my opinion. Like I said, though, as the story wore on you definitely begin to feel for the characters and what truly resides in their hearts. Having finished the book it does remind me in ways of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, as there are some similar themes.
I thought it was very interesting that the story was actually told from three separate points of view. That isn’t something that you see everyday, and that takes skill as a writer to be able to maintain each characters voice and story line. I wondered when reading this story, if the reasoning for that would lead up to the next book in the series, and it does. I definitely saw an evolution of the characters as the story progressed. As a reader you want a story that is interesting. Something that can keep you hooked. For me, I also need characters that develop and grow. They can’t remain stagnant or the story, however exciting it may be, falls flat. The author does a good job of expressing these changes over the course of the book. I initially didn’t start out liking Will or Josh, but found them rather redeeming towards the end. I also didn’t understand what was so desirable about Annie in the beginning, but the strength of her character shone forth with every trial that she faced. Including a rather ridiculous set of sisters.
I liked the story within the story, and found that it unfolded rather well. It wasn’t too rushed or too drawn out. It also added to the development of the characters and the changes that overcome them as you read. The author did a great job of setting this story up as a series. I was interested enough in Josh to wonder what would happen to him. I also liked that his relationship with Will came full circle, and that while Will had a lot to learn about Annie and the past, he had just as much to learn about himself.
The only thing I think I would have liked to see more of was the past from Annie’s point of view. You see it mostly when Will is remembering shared times between them, so you understand that he had real feelings for her back then, but you don’t see it as much with her. I think it would have been great if there would have been some flashback scenes between the two to showcase where her head was at. It definitely would have added more to the story for me.
Overall, I recommend this book. I like a love story with some mystery, and this story certainly provided that. It had great character development, an interesting story line, and something to keep the readers coming back for more. I expect that the next book in this series will be just as good.