New Additions by Becky Harmon was one of those books that a reader gets lost in, turning page after page. And then gets in trouble when they finally look up, realize how much time has gone by, and that they haven’t finished all the chores they were supposed to do.
Cassie Thomas, a retired police chief, lives a secluded life running a farm/vacation resort out in the country. She’s fulfilling plans she had once made with her wife, who succumbed to cancer five years ago, before any of their retirement dreams came true. Another one of those plans is opening her house to kids in need. Last year she enrolled in the city-to-country program with Foster’s, a private foster/adoption agency. The program is a chance to show kids what living in the country is like for a summer. Her first summer went really well, and she’s looking forward to having two new kids come out this year.
Kathleen Masters is extremely invested in her job with Foster’s. It’s her way of making sure that kids in the foster system don’t ever feel like there’s no one out there who cares about them. She knows from personal experience how that can be. This year she’s trying to find a place for four girls who’ve bonded to spend the summer together, and she thinks Cassie’s farm is the perfect place. All she has to do is convince Cassie. And control her surprising attraction to the confident, self-assured woman. Because it’s all about the kids, right?
It’s hard not to like Cassie. She’s had the one great love in her life, so she doesn’t expect to find it ever again. She knows who she is, and is confident in that knowledge. Her experience as an officer of the law has not only given her a self-assured air, but also influenced her character. She is calm in confrontations, focused on problem solving, and yet also able to allow others to make their own decisions and choices. I found it fascinating that even though she was an authority figure, she never tried to impose her will on others. She gave them the rules, and gave them options, and allowed them to decide for themselves, no matter what their age. It seemed an excellent way to not only reach kids who don’t have a lot of control over their own lives, but also teach them about consequences and taking responsibility for themselves and their choices. She’s surprised at her visceral attraction to Kathleen, and when the chance comes to act on it, she moves with just as much confidence and assuredness as always. But is this just a one-time thing? Or can they make it into something more?
Kathleen is also an interesting woman. She grew up in the foster system herself, so she has a vested interest in doing the best for these kids. She’s closed off in her personal life, never having a deep, long-lasting relationship with the women she’s been with. The four girls she’s trying to find a place for have all bonded together as a kind of chosen family, and all four have come out as lesbians, so she’s even more invested in trying to keep them together. Cassie seems like the perfect person to provide a place where they can all spend a summer, and possibly even learn from someone just like them. But Cassie also makes her feel things she hasn’t felt before, and it’s getting harder and harder to stop thinking about her, or to keep herself from touching. And once things have started, Kathleen becomes a bit frightened at the intensity of her feelings. How would things work out? How would they be able to keep seeing each other? And worse yet, how can she try to pretend things are normal again?
The Writing Style
The writing style here is easy to read and smart. The pacing seems excellent, always just enough going on to keep me turning pages. There were a couple of plot twists that I didn’t expect, and I thought it was a bit surprising how quickly and easily everyone adjusted to each one. I definitely didn’t want to put this book down until I finished it.
I loved the chemistry between Cassie and Kathleen. I’m not usually one of those believers in instant attraction, or insta-love/lust that creates a lasting bond, but what occurred here felt right. It felt like two people who had an instant connection, who were lonely and didn’t have a lot of romantic contact in their lives, and who deliberately chose to move forward on an attraction that deepened quickly. Both were okay with the physical manifestation of their attraction, but at the same time, both were unsure if there would be something more, even though both wanted it. That felt real to me, and led to an organic process of trying to work out things after the sex started. I also liked all the kids in the book.
Two things that were cons for me in this book; first, the four girls that initially bring Cassie and Kathleen together don’t come into the plot until late in the book. I expected them to have more of a focus in the story than they did, and I wish we’d gotten to know them more. Second, the end of the book seems abrupt. There’s no real resolution to the relationship, unless you count the fact that both women are now willing to see where things go. It seems like part of the story hasn’t been told.
I definitely liked this book. It was a bit different from my usual reads, and so it captured my attention and wouldn’t let me go. There were a lot of good things in this book, and I enjoyed all of them.
Excerpt from New Additions by Becky Harmon
Cassie climbed on Cheyenne’s back and guided her beside Kathleen. “All ready?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Kathleen said hesitantly.
“Hold on tight.” Cassie winked. “Injuries make my insurance go up.”
Kathleen choked out a laugh. “That’s nice. Your concern for my welfare is touching.”
Cassie and Dillon maneuvered their horses out of the paddock with Kathleen in the middle. The goats scurried away from the horses’ feet but followed close behind them.
“We’re being followed.” Kathleen turned back and forth in her saddle to watch them.
“They’ll lose interest shortly. Once we get to the platform out there.” Cassie pointed at a wooden four-by-four platform about three feet off the ground.
“What’s that?” Kathleen asked.
“Just watch.” Cassie pointed again as three of the goats ran up the ramp and began pushing each other off the platform. “See, they’ve already forgotten about us.”
“They’re very cute.” Kathleen laughed when a fourth goat squeezed herself onto the platform, shoving another one off.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781594935275
- Publisher: Bella Books
Note: I received a free review copy of New Additions by Becky Harmon. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.