Hidden Courage (Home to the River Series: Book 2)


Talley Jones is a shy nursing student, hiding from a dangerous stalker. Living with her grandparents, she works at a local nursing home and avoids relationships. Talley is a dead ringer for her great-aunt Marie, who has passed away. At Marie’s funeral, she meets Cord Hatch and his grandfather, who was an old boyfriend of Marie. Cord is busy running his family farm, and is looking for a full-time carer for his grandfather, and to relieve his mother of the burden. Seeing an opportunity to use Talley’s likeness of Marie to coerce him into the facility, he befriends Talley. The couple are drawn to each other, but with Cord’s deceit and Talley’s stalker on the loose, will they find a way a way into each other’s hearts?

An intriguing slow burn with the quaint byplay of rural living, and the sweet friendship that develops between Talley and Cord. Their love interest is lukewarm, however, with many storylines grappling for attention, including the entrance of Cords old business partner which feels forced. Talley's doppelgänger great-aunt stands out, however, and compels the reader to continue. The title is misleading, as the story depicts Talley as a victim throughout. There is a good level of suspense with the stalker and the fixation of Cords grandfather on Talley, but we don't see her rise to the challenge. Instead, she is the damsel in distress; enter white knight to save the day. Both Talley and Cord have the potential for growth with stronger backstories. It could benefit by focusing on the romance of the older generation, with Talley drawing her courage from Marie. Nevertheless, this is an easy read with the potential for more.

Rika Chandra