This romance is more than a mere love story, otherwise, as a man, I wouldn't have read it. With its undertones of menace, thread of injustice, mystery to be solved and unspoken comments on small town American life this is a novel that should attract readers from both genders and all adult age ranges.
The characters are alive and, whether nasty or nice, cynical or naive, beautiful or ugly, they portray traits we can all both recognise and empathise with. The main story, of unrequited love, is interwoven with another that deals with jealousy, intrigue, hatred and injustice.
The reader is driven to first trust the heroine and then doubt that trust, as she grows through the experiences she faces and even doubts herself. The hero remains a stalwart but retains his professional concerns and suspicions so that he is reluctant to make the conclusions necessary to end the doubts he's faced with.
I won't spoil the story by alluding to the ending, except to remark that it is apposite; it fits without being contrived.
As a reader of many different styles and genres, I found I was drawn into this novel by the characters very early on. The mystery and intrigue kept me absorbed and the emotional content, coupled with the well-drawn characters, carried me through to the ending.
A book I enjoyed and can happily recommend to men and women alike.