cover image That Night on Thistle Lane

That Night on Thistle Lane

Carla Neggers. Mira, $7.99 mass market (308p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1420-2

In the pleasant but bland second contemporary in the Swift River Valley series (after Secrets of the Lost Summer), smalltown librarian Phoebe O’Dunn allows herself to find love. After being jilted, Phoebe closed her heart off to romance, and opened it instead to the needs of her friends and family. When she secretly participates in a masked ball wearing a gown she unearths in the library’s hidden attic, she is inexplicably drawn to a swashbuckling swordsman who sweeps her off her feet and unintentionally involves her in a mystery. Soon Phoebe discovers that her dance partner was Noah Kendrick, billionaire friend of her best friend Olivia’s fiancé, and she backs off—but Noah recognizes her and hopes to reconnect with her. This slow-paced romance uses an overabundance of cliché and unvoiced thoughts to replace meaningful dialogue, and the mysteries are entirely overblown. Even Neggers’s many fans will find this lackluster yarn disappointing. (Feb.)