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Reviewed by Bethany Kelly
If you had the chance to get to know your birth mother without her knowing who you really were, would you take it? Cora Kelly decides to take that chance in Finding Our Forever, the first book in the Silver Springs series written by Brenda Novak.
Cora has finally figured out who her birth mother is–Aiyana, the owner of the New Horizons Boys Ranch, a school for troubled teens. Along with this piece of information, she has also discovered that the ranch is looking for a new art teacher.
Although Cora has a job offer to teach art at the school she often substitutes for, she can’t help but be intrigued by the possibility of working side-by-side with her birth mom…even if Aiyana doesn’t know who she really is.
With both reservation and excitement, Cora finds herself teaching at the New Horizons Boys Ranch, not only with Aiyana as her boss, but with Aiyana’s attractive adopted son by her side, as well.
Elijah has struggled with trust issues since he was little. After all, most of the boys who ended up at the ranch did. However, when he meets Cora, he can’t help but feel intrigued, and attracted to her, in a way that he never thought possible.
Will Cora be able to open her heart despite the secret she is hiding from everyone at the ranch? Will Elijah be able to trust Cora after her secret comes out?
First off, I was ecstatic to start reading this book after reading the synopsis. It sounded intriguing, and I definitely love romance novels set on ranches! Although I did like some qualities of the book, there were some things that I think could’ve been improved upon.
Cora and Elijah are great characters! We see from the beginning Cora’s longing to know why Aiyana gave her up for adoption, and the impact that it has had on her life. We also get to see glimpses of the impact Elijah’s traumatic past has had on his life. I wish that the author would’ve gone farther into these feelings with both of the characters, giving them both greater depth, but since this is romance novel, I understand why she didn’t.
I was really hoping that the tension from Cora keeping this huge secret would make the book that much better, but it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. Instead, the book seemed a bit rushed. I also felt like the climax of the novel (the moment the big secret comes out) was a huge let down. I was expecting it to be more than a hiccup in the story line since Novak tried to build it up to be a huge roadblock.
Unfortunately, there were a few instances where I felt like I was being led to a defining moment for the novel, but it ended up being rather anti-climactic.
However, I will say that I did like some of the initial tension between Cora and Elijah, and I thought that their love story (while rushed in places) was sweet.
All in all, it was a great premise that didn’t quite make it for me, but I don’t regret giving it a shot.
Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harlequin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.