Reality show mania comes to tiny Fool’s Gold in the latest installment of Mallery’s warmly tender series. Nontraditional forms of parenting provides the major source of conflict and emotion between the protagonists. Mallery’s keen gift for developing stories that dig deep into family dynamics is again on display. Passion, poignancy and humor add up to heartfelt reading.
The story of Fool’s Gold’s man shortage has caused Hollywood to come calling in the form of a new reality TV romance competition. Volunteered by the mayor and her boss, Dakota Hendrix is stuck being the town’s liaison to the TV production company. Her biggest challenge arrives in the form of angry Alaskan bush pilot Finn Anderssen. Finn is irate that his younger twin brothers have bailed on finishing college in order to participate in this competition. Finn raised his brothers after their parents’ death, so he has a lot invested in them. Dakota is in the process of adopting a child, so she doesn’t need the emotional roller coaster of a potential lover. Both Dakota and Finn have a lot of emotional baggage; can their attraction ever amount to more than a fling? (HQN, Aug., 384 pp., $7.99)