Title: Home to Whiskey Creek
Author: Brenda Novak
Series: Whiskey Creek
Genre: contemporary romance
Format read: ebook
The fourth Whiskey Creek novel, Home to Whiskey Creek, is Noah Rackham’s story. Noah is a professional mountain bike racer, but he also owns a bike shop in Whiskey Creek where he spends his off season time. He’s been in the series thus far as one of the group of friends that meet at the coffee shop every Friday—the one whose in-the-closet best friend Baxter is secretly (not so secretly, as it turns out, to everyone in the group who isn’t Noah) in love with him. Noah’s handsome and popular and from a prominent family—his father is the mayor of Whiskey Creek—though he’s never really totally come to terms with the loss of his twin brother Cody on the night of their high school graduation, or the guilt he feels about keeping one of Cody’s secrets.
Adelaide Davies knows all about secrets. She has a huge one—one that’s kept her from Whiskey Creek ever since she graduated, two years after Noah’s group of friends. She’s back now, though, to help her aging grandmother and her restaurant. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with her old high school crush, Noah Rackham, nor does she want to bring her past secrets to light. Or does she?
Home to Whiskey Creek deals with some big time heavy issues. There’s rape—gang rape, actually—homosexuality, and severe homophobia. There’s a lot of fear—fear of violence and intimidation, fear of sexual assault, fear of being rejected by friends and family and losing the respect of the town you grew up in. It should have been an emotional read.
But it wasn’t.
I had a really hard time feeling a connection to any of the characters this time—even the ones from the earlier four books (there was a prequel novella) when they showed up. Everything in this book somehow felt very removed from the reader. As for Noah and Addy, they talked about how they felt and they thought about it a lot, but none of it really rang true. I didn’t feel their chemistry, and I didn’t buy in to their emotions. The ending had everything wrapped up so nice and neatly that it was barely even believable. Baxter’s side story was just painful, and not in that pain-is-good-because-it-helps-a-character-to-grow kind of way. (And despite what Bax’s other friends apparently believe, Noah was way out of line with what he does “for” Bax later on in the book.)
But I digress.
I’ve enjoyed Novak’s writing in the past, and especially liked the book that came before this one, When Summer Comes. Hopefully, this one was just an aberration.
In a nutshell: should have been an emotionally driven story, but it missed the mark. I remain optimistic that this was just a fluke and that the next book in the series will be more in line with the previous. C-
I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.