RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: The Welcome Home Garden Club by Lori Wilde


Title: The Welcome Home Garden Club
Author: Lori Wilde
Publication Info: Avon 2011
ISBN: 978-0061988431
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The Welcome Home Garden Club This review was written by Emily. This story was nominated in the Best Contemporary Single Title category.

The summary:     

Caitlyn Marsh stopped believing in happily-ever-after when high-school sweetheart, Gideon Garza, left for Iraq. Now she raises her small son while her matchmaking gardening club members drive her crazy. Then Caitlyn's world turns upside-down when Gideon swaggers back to Twilight. Gideon had left town in the middle of night with threats ringing in his ears.

A lot of things have changed since then. This bad boy-turned-Green Beret bears scars from the war, the timid girl he loved is an independent mother, and the father who refused to recognize his son in life has, in death, left him a vast cattle ranch. He still aches for Caitlyn, and now there's a dark-haired boy who looks exactly like Gideon did at that age.

Could the child be his? And can this war-weary soldier overcome the scars of the past to claim the family he so richly deserves?

And here is Emily's review:

Who are these people? Four books into a series and I barely know the main characters. While this book is also set in Twilight, Texas, only the members of the Garden Club and the Sheriff are familiar. Six of them are the ladies who are a part of every club in town and the three heroines from previous books. Since I actually read the whole series, I would have enjoyed a book that paid more attention to these ladies.  I already liked them.

Instead we get stuck with a bunch of people we don’t really know. Initially I liked the hero and heroine, but not their families. Caitlin’s father is a miserable, entirely unlikable ass.  He is the reason for ludicrous, over-the-top elements of the plot. He hired a PI to prove Gideon was dead, which explains how Gideon doesn’t know he has a child. One of the main reasons I hate this plot/character is I still don’t why her father hated Gideon so much. As far as I could tell it may have been because he was half-Mexican. Her father then kicked Caitlin out of the house while pregnant and teenager. Psycho daddy dearest doesn’t deserve an HEA, and I was mad at how the whole thing was resolved.

Eventually I started to dislike the hero and heroine as well. Caitlin is sweet, but a push-over and a tenderfoot gal who needs the men to watch over her. Gideon is overbearing and critical. He thinks Caitlin is overprotective of their son even though a)he just met the boy b) the kid is seven and half (still young) and c) people are trying to hurt Caitlin.  Calling her overprotective is TSTL to me.

I did enjoy this series and if I had an e-reader, I would read the spin-off series. I liked seeing characters I already knew. If you like small towns, fated true love, women’s clubs, hot sex, Texas set romances, and small town living, this series is for you. I recommend you start with the first book, The Sweethearts' Knitting Club  (A | BN | K | S | ARe), which I liked much more than this one and I gave a B+.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo | All Romance eBooks.

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  1. 1

    Thanks for the review. I’ve been reading this book for about a year. I pick it up, put it down, pick it up and put it back down again. I’m about 50% into it, and I think I’ve reached the part I like to call “stupid motivation point,” which automatically takes me out of the story. Up until SMP, I was enjoying it. I own The Sweethearts Knitting Club and the Cookie Club book, so I’ll pick those up instead.

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