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A Promise Of Home (A Lake Howling Novel Book…
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A Promise Of Home (A Lake Howling Novel Book 1)

by Wendy Vella

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A Promise of Home by Wendy Vella is a 2015 publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A combination of suspense, family drama, and romance.

After inheriting a home and a car from a very special friend, Branna returns to Howling, Oregon, the town where she graduated from high school.

Branna, a teacher and successful novelist, never was close to many people in town before, but after a nasty spill that leaves her with a concussion, she finds herself reacquainted with Jake McBride, a man who is obviously struggling with some heavy issues in his life.

Jake bulldozes his way into Branna's carefully constructed and sterile world, leaving her feeling disoriented. Branna and Jake are alike in some ways, both carrying around a lot of baggage, both trying to be in control, and both finding peace and comfort with each other.. Most of the time.

There was a lot going on in this story with all the small town characters. Jake is dealing with a form of PTSD, puzzling everyone by walking away from his promising career as a doctor, Branna has isolated herself from the world after her mother's death left her riddled with guilt, and caused a huge rift to form between her and her father.

There are several side stories, such as Branna befriending a young boy who happens to also have a high IQ like Branna, plus a mystery concerning the woman in town who was once the most popular girl in school, who appears to have it all, but is obviously very unhappy.

Not only that, Branna apparently has an enemy and becomes a victim to severe vandalism, adding a level of suspense to the story.

Having so many threads open like this caused some areas of the book to remain undeveloped, and the story was not as cohesive as a result. Deep down, Jake was a good guy, and I liked him for the most part, except that he was always picking Branna up and throwing her over his shoulder, which might have been okay in the beginning when Branna was refusing to seek medical attention and someone needed to step up and get her a doctor. But, after that, not so much. He also came on too strong, and Branna was always giving in and doing things Jake's way, making him a little too caveman for my taste.

The suspense element was sadly predictable and as the story progressed it became even more obvious what was going on.

The most compelling part of the story was Branna's relationship issues with her father. This storyline was very intense from an emotional standpoint. It was so sad how the death of Branna's mother impacted them equally hard, but they couldn't connect and grieve together, each of them folding inwardly and drifting apart, allowing bitterness to fester to epic proportions.

Branna will, on occasion, become a little too overwrought, can behave childishly at times, but her character really does improve as the story progresses.

While the author touched on some very important issues with the secondary characters, Jake and Branna's story were strong enough to carry the book by it's own merits. Jake's backstory needs to be fleshed out more, instead of adding more complex storylines.

I did enjoy seeing Branna and Jake come out of their shells, lighten up a little and start enjoying life again, with a little help from the power of love.

Overall, the story is enjoyable enough, but needed a little tightening up in some areas. This one gets 3 stars ( )
  gpangel | Oct 1, 2015 |
How could I possibly fall in love with a whole fictional town and its inhabitants?! But that's exactly what happened when I picked up A Promise of Home by Wendy Vella.

I put this book to the side for a little bit under the misguided notion that I'd be reading another 'middle of the road' sweet romance novel about second chance love with a childhood friend. The cover art didn't do much to sway me from this preconceived idea.

Thankfully, I was very wrong! It only took a few pages to confirm in my mind that this book was great and that I was seriously hooked. Lake Howling and the people who live there were so real in my mind as I was reading that if someone suggested going for a visit I'd jet off in a flash and probably stay there for good.

Sparks fly between Branna and Jake right from the outset and their banter and sarcastic comments made this story humorous and addictive. I loved how grumpy Branna was. If the author had simply concentrated on these two characters overcoming their emotional traumas and hangups whilst getting to know each other I'd be telling you what a lovely, simple and sweet romance this is.

However, the story twists and turns so well that the romance is just one aspect. There is a whole town full of people and drama to pull you in even further. With its rich list of characters there is a real community spirit in Lake Howling and you can't help but feel part of it when they gossip and interfere in each other's lives. Jake has his buddies, Buster and Ethan, who are adorable, witty and protective of each other. Their insulting jibes and teasing made me laugh.
Branna has a smaller social circle but it soon extends as she adjusts to small town life.
However, it is not all laughs and witty banter as behind closed doors not everyone is living a happy and quaint small town life. There is a disturbing, darker element at play.

Branna and Jake's back stories were an interesting read and I could sympathise with and understand their fears and motivations. Branna's relationship with her father added an extra element of drama and angst.
I enjoyed the little bit of mystery and suspense that occurred towards the end of the novel. I wasn't expecting the story to veer in that direction but I was excited when it did as I love it when my favourite genres mix together.

I was sorry to get to the end of the book but delighted that the second had already been published. So at one o clock in the morning, ignoring my TBR list of books to review and happy in the knowledge I had the following day off work, I downloaded The Texan Meets His Match. By five o clock I sadly had to say bye bye to Lake Howling but I will definitely be back when book 3 is published.

I received a copy of A Promise of Home in return for an honest review. ( )
  Inishowen_Cailin | Aug 26, 2015 |
Title: A Promise of Home
Author: Wendy Vella
Publisher: Vella Ink Ltd.
Series: A Lake Howling Novel Book 1
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four
Review:

"A Promise of Home" by Wendy Vella

What I like about this novel....

I found this a interesting story of a romance between Branna and Jake where we find two people who had been through a lots of problems and end will they be a perfectly matched couple with flaws? Both Branna [losing a mentor] and Jack [who suffering from PTSD] are what you would call 'wounded spirits from different causes.' I loved the suspense to this plot with the suspenseful mystery of who and why someone is trying to force Branna to leave her home. The characters in this story are all well developed, defined and believable all helping to give the reader a well told story. What will happen has Branna begins to come out of her shell as Jake is there for her? This will be one beautiful love that is very steamy, deep and so caring where Branna and Jake are drawn together and in the end...well this is where I will say you will have to pick up the good read to see how this author will bring it all out to the reader. Would I recommend this novel? YES! ( )
  arlenadean | Aug 15, 2015 |
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When Branna O'Donnell heads back to Lake Howling, Oregon, she’s not sure what to expect. It’s a place that holds plenty of memories, both good and bad, but Branna is determined to find some peace there from the demons of her past. However, she soon realizes that living in a small town again comes with complications, and one of them is named Jake McBride.
Once the town golden boy, Dr. McBride has returned from Iraq angry and, like her, shouldering a few emotional scars. They strike sparks off each other from the outset, and Branna knows that if she gives in to the attraction between them it’s going to result in a world of pain. The problem is she's not sure how to walk away.
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