Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Just Down the Road

Just Down the Road
Jodi Thomas
Contemporary Romance
Harmony Series/ Book 4
Berkley/April 3, 2012

Harmony, Texas, is a place where dreams are born. As the townspeople face unexpected endings and new beginnings, they also come face to face with themselves—and what’s most important in life...

When Tinch Turner lost his wife, he gave up on living. Now he spends his nights brooding, boozing, and brawling. When one of his escapades lands him in the ER, he finds himself staring up at the beautiful new doctor in town. For the first time in years, he feels a spark, but Addison Spencer wants nothing to do with the unruly rancher—or any man for that matter. She’s only in Harmony four months, long enough for the trouble she left behind to be over. But then a vulnerable little boy barrels into both their lives, forcing them out of the past—and into a future where love is just down the road...

In the meantime, as Reagan Truman grieves for her beloved uncle, she finds comfort in the makeshift family she’s made in Harmony—and in a new baby, the first born in the Wright Funeral Home in 45 years, proving to everyone that life does go on…

So happy to be back in Harmony, Texas!  It's like going home after being away for a long time.  The people, the places all hold memories of previous visits and times of happiness and some sadness too.   This time is no different, catching up with favorite characters and learning more about some newer folks in town.

Tinch Turner, at first glance, comes off as a drunken loser.  The guy is known for bar fights and trouble in general.  But beneath the rough, bleary-eyed exterior is a man in pain.  His wife wasn't simply his wife but she was his best friend, lover and childhood sweetheart.  His whole life centered on the fact that they would be together, growing old.  Now he is forced to face a new reality without her.  And Tinch does his best not to face it.  The way Tinch is written, it is so easy to not only sympathize with him but want to help him.  He's not a lost cause and Addison realizes this as she continues to see more of Tinch and the man underneath the pain.

Addison Spencer is in hiding.  She's taken the temporary job in Harmony to regroup and make some tough decisions.  Her run-ins with Tinch cause Addy to view him in a different light.  Then when Tinch is in desperate need of help, not only for himself but for a child, Addy comes to Tinch's rescue.  I really liked the role reversal with Addy helping Tinch.  And while it may seem like it is Addy doing the rescuing, Tinch also has a hand in helping Addy with her tough decisions.  Their romance was beautifully written and I loved see how each was able to give more than what they thought they could give, finding that inner strength they thought they had lost.

Big, Reagan and Noah - what a fascinating, complex triangle.  It's not a love triangle but a friendship triangle with both men loving Reagan in their own way and Reagan loving, in different ways, each of the men.  But it's their friendship at the heart of the relationships.  It's Noah Reagan wants to lean on but it's Big who's there when she needs someone the most.  Even knowing that Reagan is in love with Noah, you can't help but be thankful that Big is there for her because sometimes you need the friend that doesn't question you, that is simply there for you and that's what Big is for Reagan.  Their relationship is simple - it's friendship at it's deepest level.  Reagan and Noah's relationship is a rough and rocky one with potentially insurmountable obstacles.  It's definitely worth sticking around just to see how these three will handle everything life throws at them.

The funeral home is a busy place.  Who would have thought?  Not only is the usual business of attending to the dead keeping Tyler Wright, owner and funeral director, busy but the living are keeping him up late.  He's finally found the woman to spend the rest of his life with but he's left waiting for her to finish her last mission for the military.  Then there's Tyler's pregnant housekeeper who's about to give birth at any moment, keeping everyone nervous and ready for the baby's arrival.  I didn't feel a lot of concern for these characters as individuals but felt they rounded out the small town feeling with everyone pitching in to help each other.

I do think this series not only continues to grow but continues to get better, giving the reader even more to love and come back for.  The strength of the series are it's characters.  It's not only the people but the town and how they each contribute to the attributes and quality of the town to make Harmony what it is.   I look forward to continuing this journey with the residents of Harmony when we next meet. 

Rating:  A- 

Harmony Series ~ 

Welcome to Harmony
Somewhere Along the Way
The Comforts of Home
Just Down the Road


  1. Oh Leslie, I agree! The characters really do make the series in this case. I love how far Jodi Thomas has taken them in just four installments. I feel that connection with the main characters that she highlights and with the excellent secondary characters that she keeps developing. This is the best small-town series I've read so far... and there so many out there!

    So glad you're loving it too! This was another great, great installment!

  2. *sigh* I just adore this series. I love how there is a romance in each story yet we still have the thread of Regan running through it. Of course the part with Jeremiah had me blubbering. I fell in love with that old coot throughout the series and his part in this story made me sad.

  3. Hils ~ It does feel like this series has been around longer with such great character development.

    Tracy ~ Regan and Jeremiah's relationship was such an emotional one. They said so such to each other without actually saying a lot out loud.

  4. I really liked Tinch's character! There was a lot more under the surface than what you'd expect. I liked that he wasn't struggling to make a living... I mean, it's hard to tell in Harmony sometimes...

    I had a little problem with Addison. Just the fact that she let someone dictate her life. I didn't get why.

    LOL, well there's always death, so the funeral home will always be busy :) But yeah, not that kind of busy.

    Really happy you enjoyed the book, Les!