My first book review of 2020 – eeek! So exciting! Doubly exciting because this is my first buddy read with my friend Holly from Holly Loves Books! We realised we both had been given this book by the author in exchane for an honest review, so why not do a buddy read and talk about our thoughts and feelings while reading it instead of just a regular review? We decided to ask the other 5 questions in order to mix things up. I’ll get straight to answering Holly’s questions – right after the synopsis:
After her father’s death, Amelia wants comfort. Right after the funeral, she returns to her hometown and to the ranch of Dawson, her childhood sweetheart and first love. Soon, it feels like she never left all those ten years ago, but both Amelia and Dawson know she will soon have to return to New York city – and to her professional dancing carreer. When she first moved away all those years ago, she broke Dawson’s heart, and he’s definitely not looking to repeat the experience. But being a cowboy down to his bones, their separation seems inevitable. While they are reconnecing, Dawson’s passion for bull riding doesn’t help their resurfacing feelings; after losing her mother to a horse-riding accident, Amelia is scared to lose Dawson in a similar way. While all odds are against them, will they find a way to stay together, or will they be separated a second time?
Now, onto Holly’s questions for me:
What was your immediate reaction to the book?
I really like the cover, i think it’s super pretty, so I was very excited to read it. The synopsis was sounding like it might be right up my alley also. However, despite there being some good points, I have to say I was a tiny bit disappointed. In my opinion, Amelia and Dawson found their way back to each other way too quickly. Even though I obviously wanted them to get together, I was hoping for more drama in the beginning of the book, more tension, more bitter-sweetness, if you know what I mean.
When Amelia arrives at Dawson’s ranch, it takes them merely a few days before they are a couple. I was wishing for some scenes from their past together, some discussions, some drama, some ups and downs, something… more. That feeling kind of moved through the whole book for me like a red thread.
Did it hook you from the beginning or did it take a while to get into?
I liked the premise a lot. I was just hoping for something a little bit different I guess, which is probably why it hooked me then in the end. I was anxious to see how Amelia and Dawson’s story would develop.
What parts of the book stood out to you the most?
Good question! I liked the childhood love story a lot. Amelia and Dawson were always each other’s everything, but they didn’t become a real couple before Amelia left for New York. Something that stood out to me in a very positive manner was that neither Amelia nor her best friend in New York were in any way snobbish or conceited, which I was quite scared about in the beginning. But neither the people they were with nor the money they were apparently making changed them for the worse character-wise, which I liked a lot!
A more negative way the characters stood out to me was that some depth was missing for me. Amelia comes straight from her father’s funeral, and she lost her mother when she was younger, but I think she only cries once in the beginning, which kind of made her less authentic for me – together with the fact that we didn’t get to hear her true feelings or inner thoughts very often. That is probably what I was missing the most.
Which character did you relate to the most?
I can’t say that I could relate to them the most, but I really liked Dawson’s family a lot. I was just wishing we would see more of them. His brother was very supportive and sweet, and I was rooting for him and …. someone else in the story. He was never letting Dawson down, was there for him after this accident, during his ups and downs with his relationship with Amelia, which was super sweet to see. So actually, it was more the support characters that had me looking forward to reading more, rather than the MCs.
How did you feel abput the ending?
Hmm. That’s my actual honest reaction to the ending. I was thinking…what now? Was that it? What are these blank pages? I don’t think they suggest a second book, so for my liking the ending came a bit abrupt. Also, the fact that – SPOILER ALERT – both Amelia and Dawson had to almost “kill” themselves due to their pride and stubbornness, yet then, when they really almost do, they then find each other, which was a bit of an unsatisfactory ending for me. I wanted them to choose each other willingly, work for their relationship rather than subbornly go their own way until they find themselves in a dead end.
All in all I can say that Where She Belongs is a sweet story of a city girl finding her way back to her childhood sweetheart. At some points I was hoping for a better execution of this very nice premise, and for more character depth and a better insight into their heads. What are they feeling, thinking, hoping, wishing, fearing? I wanted a bit more of everything, which is why it’s 3 stars from me.
Thank you very much to the author for the ecopy of this book!