Review: The Reluctant Bachelor by Syndi Powell

reluctantTHE RELUCTANT BACHELOR
Syndi Powell
Harlequin Heartwarming
Publication Date: August 2013

From the back cover:

A SECOND CHANCE AT TRUE LOVE

Five years ago, Rick Allyn was publicly humiliated when he had his heart broken on the reality dating show True Love. Convincing him to sign up for another round of punishment isn’t going to be easy. But with the show’s ratings plummeting, producer Elizabeth Maier will have to persuade him to agree…or she’ll be putting in a job application at Rick’s small-town diner.

Elizabeth is confident this season will be different. With his prominent family, boyish charm and good looks, Rick is the complete package. Finding his soul mate shouldn’t be hard. However, as filming continues, she’s beginning to suspect that the perfect woman for Rick is her. That leaves Elizabeth with a tough choice: her job at True Love or a shot at the real thing.

I am extremely excited about Harlequin’s new Heartwarming line! Words cannot express how awesome it is to find an entire range of books dedicated to wholesome stories that don’t skimp on emotional depth, internal conflict, or true romance that goes beyond the physical. While I wasn’t much for the ‘re-freshed’ books (reprints) that were originally being offered, I’m thrilled to delve into the new stories.

Syndi Powell’s debut THE RELUCTANT BACHELOR capitalizes on the popularity of reality TV dating shows while bringing along a fresh twist. Rick Allyn was jilted at the reality show altar and isn’t interested in putting his heart on the line again, but the tenacious producer of True Love is so convincing he agrees to do the show — as long as it’s on his terms. With his beloved hometown suffering badly from a poor economy, he persuades Elizabeth to tape the show in Lake Mildred. But nothing is as easy as he’d hoped it to be and Rick finds it difficult to trust his heart the second time around.

Elizabeth has sworn she’ll never be like her mother: poor, trusting in love that doesn’t exist. Her life is her job and she’s happy that way. But something happens to her in Lake Mildred and she is transformed from a ‘fish out of water’ to one who might just find the perfect home outside the pond. Ms. Powell does a wonderful job of bringing this change of heart to life, and it’s one of the shining moments in THE RELUCTANT BACHELOR.

While I wished there would have been more “screen time” spent watching Elizabeth and Rick fall in love rather than watching Rick pursue the contestants on True Love in his quest to find the perfect woman, I still found THE RELUCTANT BACHELOR to be a worthy, enjoyable read. I loved the way Ms. Powell brought Lake Mildred to life, Rick’s connection to the town, and Elizabeth’s emotional depth. I will definitely be on the lookout for future books by Syndi Powell.

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