FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Harlequin (via NetGalley).
Publisher: Harlequin Mira on June 1, 2012
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
She'd left him at the altar, but her heart was always his…
After more than ten years away, Australian soap opera star Ellie Hughes returns to the small town of Hope Junction, determined to fly under the radar while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.
But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn't long before the people of Hope Junction are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie's visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.
Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. Because Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.
When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Hope Junction is abuzz with the news that famous soap opera star Ellie is coming home, but they’re not necessarily happy about it. It’s been ten years since she left golden hometown boy Flynn at the alter, and if there’s one thing small towns do, it’s protect their own.
Ellie never really planned on coming back. Her less than graceful exit hasn’t exactly made her welcome, and she certainly doesn’t want to face the man she left behind. He’ll want answers she doesn’t want to give and apologies that will never be enough. He’s had her heart for as long as she can remember, but she knows he’ll never want it now.
I’ve got a thing for stories set in really small towns or — better yet — on farms, and Jilted promised the best of both those worlds.
Soap star Ellie finds herself heading back to the one place she never thought she’d be again, and she knows it’s only a matter of time before she comes face to face with Flynn, the boy who stole her heart and never let it go. She’d had a rough go of things as a kid, but Matilda — the godmother who raised her — along with Flynn and his family always made her feel welcome and wanted. So when she bailed on their wedding and never looked back, their confusion and heartbreak eventually turned to anger. Matilda, however, somehow seemed to understand, perhaps not the whole story, but she understood Ellie enough that she never really held it against her. Flynn, on the other hand…
He was, of course, crushed when his bride-to-be left town without any explanation or apology. The plans he’d made for a life with her were down the drain, and though he thinks he’s recovered as well as he can, seeing her again turns everything on its head. His anger is absolutely understandable, but at the same time there’s a decency in him that shines through. In a way, he hates her for breaking him, but the love for her he tries to deny makes it impossible for him to completely turn his back. In so many books, I find the standard angry man difficult to completely side with, as if he’s making too much of something, holding a grudge for way too long. But with Flynn, I felt his turmoil so well that I was as hesitant as he was about his reuniting with Ellie.
Ellie was an incredibly likable character as well, though I will admit I got a little annoyed with her internal references to “the truth” that wasn’t revealed until the very end. But while she may have been famous and unsure about returning to the town she’d abandoned, she was incredibly down to earth, more concerned with Matilda’s well-being than her own, and honest with herself about the mistake she’d made. She was insecure and worried and vulnerable, but she also had an incredible inner strength, a confidence that other romance heroines often lack, and I wanted to cheer for her every time she steeled herself against snide comments and refused to let them truly bring her down. What I loved most about her, though, was her relationship with Matilda — who, by the way, is absolutely one of my favorite fictional characters! Their love and concern for each other, coupled with self-sacrifice and incredible understanding, made for a wonderful dynamic.
As expected, of course, Ellie and Flynn eventually found some common ground and vacillated a bit in letting down walls and sharing truths. I never expected Ellie’s real reason to be so incredibly sad, and given her age when they were planning their wedding, I can’t really blame her for the way she chose to run instead of face it head-on. I was, however, a bit disappointed in Flynn’s reaction. Of course I understood his anger, but where to that point he’d been pretty insightful and understanding, even if he was hurt and angry, he suddenly turned Ellie’s traumatic experience into an “all about him” thing. It felt like he forgot the girl she once was and didn’t take any time to consider what a terrible place she must have been in to turn away from him that way. In any case, the catalyst for their happily ever after played out beautifully, and Ellie’s willingness to apologize without demanding sympathy was unexpected and admirable.
All in all, Jilted is a great read that takes what could have been a typical story line and makes it into so much more, with complex characters and a very realistic myriad of emotions. I expected to like it, but it was so much better than I’d imagined.