I'm always interested to read a good romance novel so when I was approached with an opportunity to review Cara Mckenna's new book Hard Time, I jumped at the chance.
Unlike many other books of this genre, it offered the twist of a plot with an unlikely relationship and the journey it takes. This is initially what drew me in and kept me reading until the very end.
Annie Greenhouse moved to the new town of Darren, MI, to try and forget the troubles of an abusive relationship she left behind. Taking a job at a prison, love wasn't likely to be on the horizon any time soon. But she ends up learning that love can be found in unexpected places as she grows ever closer to Eric Collier - an inmate at Cousins Prison.
Suddenly she finds herself taking risks by smuggling love letters into work and living off the highs from the racy replies that Eric provides. But can a love like this exist in the real world? She's soon to find out.
When Eric gets parol and is released from prison, Annie gets a reality check about how much she really knows about Eric and if she wants to get in deep with a bad boy all over again.
The complexity of their relationship is what really interested me and spurred me on to read the book. I got excited about seeing how their relationship would pan out and how she'd deal with suddenly being forced together.
But unfortunately it wasn't quite what I expected. Although the book was easy and enjoyable to read, I felt as though I almost missed the point. There was no beginning, middle and end for me. There wasn't a plot, as such, about what the characters had to overcome. It just felt like I was living their daily lives with them for a little while.
Sure you got to see how Annie dealt with the release of her convict lover but this doesn't really seem enough to base a whole book on. There wasn't much meat to the book to get really wrapped up in and curious about - no climax and hence curiosity about what would happen next. Personally, I prefer to be kept on my toes by a book - always wondering what happens next. But this book almost flowed too much. It naturally lead from one thing to the next without any real highs or lows.
In the last couple of chapters my interest peaked the most, as it seemed all of the drama happened then. But this was one of those books where I looked at how many pages were left and wondered how anything significant enough could happen in so few pages to explain its aim.
What was nice was that Cara has bought a new character to the plate and in turn a different kind of romance. She's made the most unlikely of characters - a convict - into one to relate to and in turn that was really interesting. I just feel that the storyline needed that little extra twist or turn to give it the edge it was lacking.
Hard Time by Cara McKenna* - £7.20 for Paperback £3.99 for Kindle from Amazon