Monday, September 18, 2023

Book Review: Sycamore Circle

By Melissa Smoot

There's a lot going on in Joy Howard's life. She's got an ex-husband who starts acting like he doesn't want to be an ex anymore, a sixteen-year-old daughter in need of a guiding hand and a lot of rides to dance practice, more orders for paintings than she has time to paint, and a roster of tutoring clients who sometimes need far more than she can give.

What she doesn't have is time for a new relationship.

Samuel "Bo" Beauman is a lot of things. He's a counselor for transitioning ex-cons, a good friend to many, a construction worker, a brother and son, and even a part-time model for a high-end sportswear catalog. He's also a man searching for redemption.

One thing he isn't is a man in need of a girlfriend.

But none of that seems to matter when Bo hears Joy's kind voice in a crowded coffee shop. He instantly knows she's someone he wants to know better. The two of them hit it off--much to the dismay of practically everyone they know--but Bo doesn't care what other people think. He feels at peace whenever he's with Joy, and he won't let her go without a fight.

When Joy starts getting mysterious texts and phone calls from unknown numbers, she tries to ignore it. But instead of going away, the messages escalate and Joy realizes she can't handle it alone. But she is juggling a jealous ex-husband, a handful of students with little to lose, and a brand-new boyfriend who spent several years behind bars. Who can she trust? (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Sycamore Circle is the second book in the series The Rumors in Ross County, by Shelley Sheppard Gray. You do not have to read the first book in the series, Edgewater Road, to understand Sycamore Circle, but I am glad that I did. I felt it gave me more of a background into the characters that reappeared in the second book. 

Sycamore Circle takes place in a rural Ohio town near Amish country. Many of the main characters are men that have served time in prison for various crimes. Although they are ex-cons, they are all trying to put good back into the world and move forward in their lives with the help of Lincoln Bennett. Lincoln started a program to rehabilitate and help former prisoners assimilate back into life on the “outside”. He and his men help them find places to live, jobs, and even provide a lot of advice and counseling. 

One of Lincoln’s men, Bo, happens to meet the kindest woman he has ever met and is falling hard for her. Joy has a teenage daughter, is a literacy tutor, and everyone adores her. What could an ex-con and a wholesome mom possibly have in common? The story takes many twists and turns and had me reading into the wee hour of the night just to find out what would happen. 

If you are looking for a feel-good book with just the right amount of suspense, this is perfect. The author does a great job of making you wish all the characters were real people and that you really want to know them.

I really liked this book and am enjoying the series overall. The stories are packed with friendship, loyalty, romance, mystery, and suspense. It is the perfect mix. I am really excited to read the next installment and hope I won’t have to wait too long!

Thanks to Blackstone for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Shelley Shepard Gray:

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us.

Listen to this book on Speechify!

No comments: