Title: Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson
Mystic Creek Series Book Three
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 443 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
The New York Times bestselling author of New Leaf returns to Mystic Creek, Oregon, where a wounded heart finds a place to call home. . . .
After a career on the rodeo circuit, Ben Sterling longs to settle down on his farm and start a family like his brothers. He’s searched all over for the woman of his dreams. Yet the only one to spark his interest is the new owner of the local café. Getting her attention, however, won’t be easy.
Sissy Sue Bentley has worked hard to make it on her own, and she doesn’t need another man in her life. From her alcoholic father to the men she’s dated, who were after only one thing, they are nothing but trouble. Except Ben keeps showing up whenever she really needs help. Sissy struggles to deny her growing feelings for him—but soon Ben’s tender concern has her hoping for a happier future. Then her past comes barreling back into her life, and it will take more than the love in Ben’s heart to hold them together.
Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson is a charming small town romance. Although it is the third installment in the Mystic Creek series, this latest release can be read as a standalone.
Ben Sterling is a warm and caring man who is ready to settle down. At one time he hoped that local cafe owner Sissy Sue Bentley might be that person, but she quickly made it clear she wanted nothing to do with him. Realizing there is no point in pursuing someone who is not interested in him, he abandoned his plan to catch her eye. Despite his terrible run of bad luck with the women he has recently dated, Ben remains hopeful he will find the right woman to share his life with.
Unlike Ben, Sissy’s life has been nothing but one hardship after another. Her childhood was extremely dysfunctional and as a result, she finds it hard to trust anyone. Sissy is quite prickly towards Ben and although he goes out of his way to help her, she remains quite distrustful of his motives for his assistance.
Ben has the patience of a saint as Sissy continues to blow hot and cold where he is concerned. She temporarily lets down her defenses and just when he thinks he is making progress, she puts her walls back up. Sissy’s mixed signals towards Ben quickly become tiresome as this push/pull continues although Ben is a perfect gentleman who is always kind and respectful to her.
While there is little doubt that Sissy’s childhood was horrible, the details of her past are so exaggerated that they are impossible to believe. While it is credible that her family moved around a great deal, the number of states she lived is in certainly eye-brow raising since they were so poor. And it is equally hard to believe that her experiences at EVERY school she attended were EXACTLY the same. Not a single person was willing to befriend her? Everyone made fun of her? No one made any effort to help her without expecting something in return?
Ben and Sissy are a cute couple but Sissy’s hard luck continues for the most of the novel. From runaway chickens to mysteriously vanishing items to a broken leg, Sissy just cannot seem to catch a break. And just when Sissy is finally willing to take a chance with Ben, her past comes back to haunt her and she pushes Ben away in an effort to protect him. Is their love strong enough to withstand this final conflict?
Mulberry Moon by Catherine Anderson is an overly dramatic but sweet addition to the Mystic Creek series. Ben is an appealing protagonist with a generous heart and a seemingly endless supply of patience. Sissy is a spunky young woman with a traumatic past that makes her afraid to risk her heart. Will Sissy allow her considerable emotional baggage ruin her future with Ben?