by Emily March
Series: Eternity Springs #14
Published on February 27, 2018 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Spring has come to Eternity Springs in the newest installment in this New York Times bestselling series by Emily March.
When Josh Tarkington gets stuck on a gondola with the lovely Caitlin Timberlake, he thinks his consistently bad luck might have changed.
After their blossoming romance is interrupted, Caitlin realizes that her encounter with Josh was a sign that she needed to make a major life change. So she packs up her things and moves to Eternity Springs, opens a day care, and sets her cap for the town’s mechanic—Josh.
But Josh is hiding a well of secrets that would ruin him, and his relationship with everyone in Eternity Springs—especially Caitlin. When tragedy strikes, Josh and Caitlin find themselves, and their relationship, tested beyond imagining. Will they be able to find their way back to each other?
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I have a lot of mixed feelings about The First Kiss of Spring. This was probably one of the first romances I’ve read where some of the harsher truths of reality were brought to the forefront. Definite trigger warnings for addiction and drug abuse, as well as child abuse in lesser detail.
Let’s start with Caitlin. She acts like a child around her parents despite being nearly 30. Decides to suddenly move home and chase after this guy she just met despite him making it clear that he wasn’t interested in anything more than a quick fling. And when I say chase, I’m saying she literally forced herself in his path. Josh, the guy in question, has a lot of secrets and is just trying to make it one day at a time. He can be ungrateful and grumpy but, to be fair, he made his desires clear from the beginning.
Their romance was lukewarm at best. Sure, when it came to the physical chemistry, they seemed to have it but there was so much more to this book than that. I never felt like they really had what it took to create a solid relationship with all the secrets and jumping to conclusions. Which was disappointing because the previous book in the series (which features characters who return in this book) was a fun book with a couple I enjoyed reading about.
But this book. . . well it really forces you to face what Josh is dealing with in terms of addiction, as well as trying to forget a past filled with abuse. The First Kiss of Spring gets dark and if you’re looking for a lighter read then this might not be the right pick for you. And, I’ll freely admit, that’s what I had been looking for going into this. I’m not against a romance taking on those sorts of themes but it’s simply not what I read romances for so that affected my personal enjoyment of the book. Josh’s whole past made a huge impact on his dynamic with Caitlin and the whole situation just wasn’t working for me.
Also, maybe I didn’t notice it as much in A Stardance Summer because it was only set at the camp, but this small town of Eternity Springs seems too perfect (yes, that’s totally possible). Everything works out and everyone’s happy and it’s all sunshine and rainbows. Yet this book tackles abuse and addiction which definitely don’t fit into that? Now I get why contrast would be good for a book but in this case they didn’t mesh in any way so the whole thing felt disjointed.
To be honest, I really just didn’t click with this book. I’m sure it has its audience out there but it’s not me. I still think I’ll read other books by this author, and in this series even, but so far the odds are 50:50 if I’ll enjoy it so we’ll see.