Sunday, August 15, 2010

Review: Welcome to Harmony

Welcome to Harmony
Jodi Thomas
Contemporary Romance
Harmony/Book 1
Berkley/June 2010
Library Book

From the back cover ~

Sixteen-year-old runaway Reagan has always wanted a place to belong. She's never had a real home of her own, but maybe she can borrow someone else's. At lest for a little while...

At the nursing home where Reagan works, Miss Beverly Truman's fond memories of Harmony, Texas, seem to fill an empty space inside the girl. After Miss Beverly passes away, Reagan travels to Harmony, pretending to be the woman's granddaughter, and is taken into the home of Beverly's surviving brother.

Still, Reagan is afraid to trust the gruff kindness shown to her by Jeremiah Truman and the warm friendship offered by antoher teenager named Noah, who dreams of being a rodeo star. She keeps her distance from Noah's sister, Alex McAllen, who's the town sheriff and busy with her own stormy relationship with volunteer fire chief Hank Matheson.

But when prairie fires threaten Harmony, Reagan learns the true meaning of family, friends, and home...

I liked the synopsis and thought the story had promise but I would have liked it more had it been focused on Reagan and her story about finding a place to belong. As it was, I got bored with the romance between Alex and Hank. I did like the overall feel of the town - Thomas can write a small town and make it come alive. There is also a secondary sort-of romance that takes place primarily on line which I found interesting and hope it will continue in the next book.

The story starts with Reagan who I enjoyed reading about. She's a teen that has a lot of guts and not much to lose when she sets out on her journey to Harmony, Texas. She pretends to be related to a former resident who also happens to be related to a current resident. The current resident, Jeremiah Truman doesn't exactly throw out the welcome mat for her but he does let her stay at him home. It's a start and Reagan is willing to take it.

Crotchety, grumpy, recluse and even mean old man could all be used to describe Jeremiah Truman. At the core he's really just lonely but isn't a people person and has very little incentive to change. That's until Reagan comes along and gives him a reason to become a little more open and willing to let someone into his life. I like how these two characters who came from not only different backgrounds but different generations, became friends. They bumped and stumbled a bit but in the end they were a family, maybe not by blood but by choice.

Reagan also makes friends with Noah McAllen another teen who wants to follow in his father's footsteps and become a rodeo star. The problem is that the Trumans and the McAllens are the Hatfield and McCoys of the area. Reagan doesn't know this and she really doesn't care, she likes Noah. Theirs is a sweet friendship and I hope we see more of these two in the coming books.

Now to the part that made this such a slow read for me. Alex and Hank and their destructive relationship. It didn't remain destructive but boy did the guilt eat at both of them to the point where they couldn't see past it to the fact that they loved each other. For me, there was too much dancing around with these two. Alex getting drunk, Hank coming to her rescue then Alex telling him she wants nothing to do with him. Then they'd do it all over again the next week.

The romance of Alex and Hank just plain dragged for me and by the end I really had no interest in whether or not they found their happily-ever-after. For whatever reason I just could not connect with them. When they were on the page I was wishing it was Reagan with her oddly developing relationship with old Jeremiah or Reagan and Noah, trying to decide if they're just friends or boyfriend/girlfriend. The good news is that the next book in the series, Somewhere Along the Way, is due out November 2. I liked the excerpt so I'll be reading that and hoping for more Reagan. :)

Rating: C+


  1. Okay, so now I've read your review and Nath's and I've decided to go ahead and read it. Even with the downside to the book, it sounds like a good beginning to a series that has potential. Right? For some reason I'm attracted to this book -- don't know why.

  2. Hils ~ my major problem was Alex and Hank. If you like their storyline, I think you'll like the book. And, I do plan to read the next one so, even though I wasn't crazy about WtH, I'm interested in the series.

  3. Don't you think this book would have more potential if all three books were out? Cos my feeling is that we're going to see Reagan grows throughout all three books.

    Yeah, I agree with you. Alex and Hank weren't very riveting. Actually didn't really care for them, but I did for all the other characters :D