Saturday, February 13, 2016

Matt & Zoe by Charles Sheehan-Miles

  In one second, the life Zoe Welch knew like the back of her hand was gone. All it took was one freak accident to kill both of her parents, and leave her, an Army Sergeant currently stationed in Tokyo, and her eight year-old sister, Jasmine, orphans.
  Now Zoe has to leave Tokyo, rescue her sister from temporary emergency housing, and become a parent to her only living relative.
  Matt Paladino has a deep, dark past that is better off staying hidden. The chapter of Matt's life which closed when he was eighteen must stay closed. Forever. But will meeting and falling in love with Zoe Welch dredge it all back up again? If Zoe learns the truth, will she and Matt be able to create a future together?
  Or is all lost for Matt and Zoe?
  After being a long-time fan of Charles Sheehan-Miles, and after reading seven novels and two novellas written by this magnificent author, I am confident and comfortable in saying that this story is much different from his previous work. (For the better, or for the worse is up to the reader.) Just as it was in Charles' Thompson Sisters series, Matt & Zoe (the book) concealed certain irresistible aspects to keep a reader guessing. (Zoe's military background, Matt's mysterious upbringing, their serendipitous way of meeting, etc.) These were all little drops of magic that didn't come as a surprise, coming from a Charles Sheehan-Miles story.
  Unlike Charles' Thompson Sisters series, I feel almost as if Matt & Zoe didn't have that final ingredient to leave me gasping and wanting more. I was satisfied when it ended, much like my satisfaction with any contemporary romance with a happy ending. When I finished it, my emotions were a complex combination of being disappointed that this wasn't another "My life will never be the same" story (as I felt with his previous novels), and thinking that I shouldn't be surprised with the overly sweet ups and downs that one typically finds in romance novels.
  Perhaps it was me, and I unrealistically expected something beyond a simple, sweet love story. Sometimes that's all one needs in life. A love story to make you worry for the couple, to make you sigh when they have their first kiss, and to make you swoon when they finally realize they're meant for each other. If you go into Matt & Zoe knowing the genre, you will not be disappointed. It certainly satisfied in that field.
  Certain parts of Matt and Zoe's story caught my attention every time I came to one of its chapters. (Zoe's veteran group, and Matt's family's past were my FAVORITE part of the book.) Charles Sheehan-Miles has not lost his umph--the bits of Charles that make his work as remarkable as it is. But Matt & Zoe are certainly a change from the action-filled political intrigue I am used to from Charles Sheehan-Miles.


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