Guarded by Angela Correll

Guarded

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the sequel to Grounded (2013), a young woman tries to save her family’s historic Kentucky home and ends up uncovering a long-buried family secret.

Correll continues the story of Annie Taylor, a young woman who left her Kentucky roots behind to become a flight attendant. However, a breakup with her boyfriend and the loss of her job led her to return home to be with her grandmother Beulah and the start of a new life. As this second novel unfolds, Annie falls in love with her childhood friend Jake and searches for work that would allow her to stay in Kentucky permanently. A quest to restore her family’s old stone house and assess its historical value leads to Annie’s discovery of a trove of long-lost letters from her grandmother’s brother, Ephraim, killed in Italy during WWII. When the letters reveal that Ephraim may have had a secret love child, Annie and her best friend, Janice, head to Italy to uncover the truth. Along the way, Annie must figure out her true feelings for Jake and decide if she is willing to commit and risk her heart again. The world Correll creates is intimate and vivid. She has a strong sense of place and easily conveys the details of life on the farm—“143 acres of well-watered land, what with Gibson’s Creek running through it and several springs.” Many of the characters are recognizable archetypes, but that doesn’t detract from their appeal. Annie, for instance, is a winning heroine whose decisions and struggles feel lifelike. There are a few overly cartoonish touches; Mrs. Delvechio, Janice’s mother-in-law, comes across like an Italian stereotype: “I am eetalian. We know love.” Meanwhile, the plot is rather predictable, and doubt rarely seeps in. Ultimately, though, easygoing readers will enjoy the journey from beginning to end.

Predictable but enjoyable romantic fiction.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-63393-136-7
Publisher: Koehler Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
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