In brief: The third in the Homeland series, this book focuses on widower Dean and his new secretary, Alice.
The good: So sweet, plus there’s not a lot of romance that focuses on the male widower perspective.
The not-so-good: Too short!
Publisher: Destiny Romance
Setting: Country Australia
My rating: 8.5 out of 10
Who doesn’t love a sweet romance? The Homeland series by Elise K. Ackers is a glimpse of life in a small country town with each book focusing on a different male and their romance. This novella follows Dean, an untimely widower as he makes the first tentative steps towards a new relationship. Dean is the brother of Ethan (focus of the first book, Ask Me to Stay) and close friend of Cal (focus of Ask Me for More). Dean is everything to his children and he wouldn’t have it any other way. However, when his son hits another boy in his class, things get difficult when the boy’s mother turns out to be Alice – his new secretary.
Despite her efficiency, Dean can’t work Alice out. She blows hot and cold and always seems tired, rushing off somewhere. Dean is interested in Alice, but she doesn’t want to let me get too close. However, when Alice goes missing one night, Dean is determined to find out the truth…
I found this book refreshing as it tells the story from Dean’s point of view. There’s some insight from Alice’s point of view, but not enough to know what her secret is (which kept me puzzling, I thought it was a lot darker than it turned out to be). It was interesting to read Dean’s internal ponderings as he wonders whether it’s right to fall in love again and also practically considering the children. (Fortunately, it turns out that he gets along very well with Alice’s son, Ben). Dean’s a likeable character – he’s not perfect (he really messes up his first kiss with Alice with a few clunky phrases) but his heart’s in the right place.
Alice was more of an enigma, which you’d expect as we’re mainly seeing her through Dean’s eyes. She’s quite secretive but is also a bit silly in some her decisions, such as leaving Ben alone while she works at her second job. It was always going to go wrong somewhere! She gradually opens herself up to Dean and as the reader; we start to learn more about her motivations and rationale for doing what she did. It doesn’t make it right, but I liked how Alice was given space to explain herself.
Fans of other books in the series will be pleased to see the return of Liv and Caleb and Ethan and Sam, with news to tell. Unfortunately Boo the goose only gets a passing reference this time! I love visiting Hinterdown, it’s like a country town where all the good parts are exemplified (except for the gossip, which is the cause of some misunderstanding between Dean and Alice). The romance is sweet and the pages just fly by – a lovely contemporary romance made all the better from the hero’s point of view. I strongly recommend you try this series!