Heart of the Storm by Nicole Stiling

What was the book about?
Falling for Sienna, her son’s father’s soon-to-be ex-wife, takes Juliet by surprise, all the more so as they’ve known each other for years, albeit from afar. When the town librarian is found dead, Juliet is in charge of the investigation and Sienna, as a victim advocate, is assigned to support the victim’s wife. The fact that work suddenly keeps bringing them together makes it even harder to resist the blossoming attraction between them. Juliet and Siena try, if only for Will (Sienna’s husband) and their son Declan’s sake, but aren’t they, too, allowed to be happy?

Featured Tropes
Police; Small town; Family

Book Strengths
I didn’t check the blurb before I started reading this book. I knew I’d liked Stiling’s first two novels a lot and that was enough for me. Because one of the things she writes really well is atmosphere. I get completely sucked into her stories and have a hard time refraining from reading them in one sitting (I do need sleep).

Another very strong point is the characters. Both Juliet and Sienna are genuine and likeable. They’re also complicated and kind and the idea of hurting Declan or Will is unbearable to them. Because of this, of all that’s at stake but also of the undeniable chemistry, there’s a lot of push and pull between Juliet and Sienna. When reading romance, I often find myself wishing the characters could make up their mind already! But there are circumstances in which doubt and uncertainty make sense and forbidden love, whatever the reasons, is one.

I was rooting for Sienna and Juliet from the start but also liked the secondary characters very much. From Will and Declan to the widow Gretchen and her daughter to Juliet’s colleagues, they are all multidimensional and real.

Book Weaknesses
I wasn’t always sure what the timeline was. It felt like things were happening pretty quickly between the two MCs but at one point, one of them says it’s been going on for “a while”. It didn’t bother me too much however.

Character Chemistry
It’s not an easy task to make sudden chemistry between two women who have known each other for almost ten years believable. And yet Stiling succeeds, there’s no doubt about that. Belated instalust is a thing.

Heat Rating 
🔥 🔥 🔥 

Wrap up
Heart of the Storm is heavy on romance and lighter on the mystery aspect, which is more in the background, but in both areas, the author manages intricate storylines, making this book very enjoyable on both sides.

4/5

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