Summer of My Secret Angel by Anna Katmore
December 28, 2013
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance (YA)
He’s annoyingly gorgeous, provocative, and fast becoming her best friend. But he also has a secret that makes the little hairs on her arms stand on end...
It wasn't nicking an expensive watch or diamond bracelet that landed streetwise Jona Montiniere in the clutches of the police. It was a darn sweater. A judge decides that she has to return to her terminally ill mother, who dumped her in an orphanage more than twelve years ago. Worse, for the coming six weeks, she has to do charity work on an estranged aunt’s vineyards in France.
Jona is determined to sneak off at the first chance she gets. But then she meets Julian, her mother’s caretaker. Playful, understanding, and sinfully sexy, he’s everything she dreams of—but she’d be damned if she let him know.
So when the first week in her new home is over, Jona is asking herself two things. One, how could it happen that she ended up in Julian’s arms after only three days? And two, how the hell did he awaken her mother from the dead…?
Left in an orphanage when she was only five, seventeen year old Jona is little more than a survivor. She has no real friends to speak of, barely passed high school, and probably doesn’t have much of a future out on her own when she ages out of the system. The only person she might call a friend is Quinn, a young police officer who hasn’t given up on her, even though he sees her in handcuffs more often than not. Her last brush with the law lands her in a French vineyard, owned by relatives she never knew she had, accompanied by the mother she hoped she’d never see again and a strange young man who seems to exude calm and happy with just a touch.
It took me a while to get into the story, and once I did, I got a little sick of Jona’s attitude. Yes, I know she’s got abandonment issues and lots to work though, but she was so often spiteful and unappreciative that I didn’t like her as much as I should have. I think I was also disappointed in the pace of the romance. The majority of the story was about her not trusting her relatives, least of all her terminally ill mother, and smarting off to Julian. While it was clear she was developing feelings for him, it seemed the focus of the story wasn’t so much young love or even trying to figure out what he was, but more her having to come to terms with the fact that her abandonment and difficult childhood were never what was intended.
When I first added this book to one of our Sunday Steals lists, I had no intention of grabbing it for myself. The cover gave off a too-young and probably a bit cheesy vibe, and it reminded me of something my sister might have made when she was thirteen. I’m not saying it’s bad cover art, just that it’s more aimed at that age, so I nearly passed it up. It was only when I was pasting in the synopsis that I took notice and decided to give it a read.
All in all, it was a good story — and probably perfect for young teens. I can imagine a fourteen-year-old positively swooning over Julian and that beach scene, and since that’s probably the exact audience it’s aimed at, it’s perfect in that sense. But as a way-too-old-to-be-reading-YA woman who still finds myself shopping in that section, I’m not sure it was the best YA pick for me. The synopsis had me thinking I’d see a lot more of the “what the hell is Julian, ’cause he’s definitely not human” bit, but that seemed to be more of secondary story line pushed back while we sorted through Jona’s trust issues. In the end, I wasn’t convinced of the love story, though I thought it was sweet. Perhaps I’m just a bit too practical and cynical at this age to fully appreciate the story.