The concept behind the storyline of this book was so achingly wonderful that it breaks my heart to say that I did not enjoy reading this as much as I would have liked. Seeing as how this is my first book by this particular author, I cannot blame my dislike on my bias for her other works, no matter how much I wish that were true, because the truth is just a bit hard to say...it was the writing itself which I didn't like.
To me, this particular work felt like a rough draft, a still-in-progress piece, a piece which, given a bit more time and edits, could become a masterpiece. I have read, or I should say listened, to many a book like this one, and I absolutely adore these types of stories. Ones where love blossoms and the world is a simpler time, that is until a problem or antagonist raises its ugly head to possibly threaten the happiness of our characters. I love getting riled up over something, and with this type of story, I usually do. And in this book Birdie was the one who riled me. She was just so perfectly written personality-wise, as was the rest of the characters. It was just a matter of connecting them flawlessly together in a way that allowed the story to grow naturally.
For example, the relationship between Birdie and Julie's father began a bit too early for my taste. I kind of wish there had been an initial introduction between the two before Jethro had gained an interest in her. Maybe the moment he took her hand in greeting Julie could have seen a twinkle in his eye, a subtle one, but one that would begin his entire pursuit of the woman. Another example is the prologue. It confused me. I kind of wish that, because of the molestation part of the story, which is pretty important by the way, seeing as how the molester gets his own occasional point of view, the prologue had started out with the girl who was strangled to death upon knowing her attacker. It would have been a great start and would have made me want to read on just to see what happens. And on top of that, I do not believe the murder was, in fact, needed for the story to progress. I think it would have been more fitting had Walter been accused of almost rape. Maybe someone stumbled across the scene before anything could happen and swore they saw something that puts him in jail. It would have been appropriate since the whole town believes he does that anyway. And that could have been the catalyst for Evan to confront his father and maybe for a possible change on Walter's part.
I know this whole review sounds like I want the entire story to change, but that is entirely not true. I just believe that by taking out the parts that are almost unneeded and developing more of the storyline that works, this book could go from okay to amazing. Suggestions are the catalyst to making a story the best it can be, and I am happy if mine can make even a minute difference in the book world.