Friday, February 19, 2021

Jackson by LaQuette: review

3/5 stars on Goodreads

Jackson by LaQuette

Jackson is the first book in Restoration Ranch contemporary romance series by LaQuette. It’s set on a ranch with the same name near Austin, Texas, that’s been in the Everett family ever since their ancestor was freed after the Civil War. The current owner, Aja, a former hotshot defence lawyer from New York in her late thirties, wants to turn it into a holiday resort, but someone in her town opposes the plan. Accidents plague the construction, and when Aja is almost killed, her family intervenes and calls in Texas Rangers. Enter Jackson Dean, a ranger as protective as he is hot.

There’s instant attraction between the two, but this is a grown-up romance, where both parties bring in a lot of baggage, so neither of them intend it to last. Alongside the romance, there’s the mystery of who’s trying to harm Aja. There are some really hot scenes, but once the case is solved, they go their separate ways—only to realise they need each other after all.

I liked both Aja and Jackson, separately and together. She knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid of going after it, and he wasn’t afraid of letting her be who she is, provided he could be there to save the day and comfort her. The supporting cast remained a little distant and I didn’t really get a hang of them.

This wasn’t a bad book, but unfortunately it suffered from a clumsy execution. We plunge in with a brief action scene when the situation on the ranch has been going on for a while already—and then everything halts. We’re told about the troubles, but we never witness them, and the investigation takes place outside the narrative.

The narrative was on a constant holding pattern. It consisted of filler scenes between brief bursts of action when the bad guys made their moves and the characters reacted. The characters were never in charge of the plot, never proactive, and the reader was an observer. Even the romantic scenes felt emotionally distant. It made the book feel overly long, and even the twists at the end couldn’t really save it. But Aja and Jackson got their happily ever after and it made the ending satisfying.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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