My Thoughts: I have to admit to starting this book almost 2 months ago. I didn't get that far before I set it aside while spending a few days in the hospital recovering from surgery and unfortunately I forgot about it. I wished I'd had continued with it back then because I enjoyed this book so much more than I did the one before (Just One Kiss). While Fool's Gold had a weird Stepford feel to it in Just One Kiss (at least it did to me) the creepiness of the perfect little town was all but gone in this installment. I did think Mayor Marsha was still pretty creepy with her "I know everything" comments but I was able to ignore most of that.
What Worked: Felicia was such a great character. Typically, I have a soft spot for tortured brooding men but Gideon really took a back seat to Felicia. She was so super intelligent and socially awkward that it was hard not to really like her. Her character is exactly like the Tempe Brennan character on the tv show Bones (not the book Tempe....she's completely different.) Anyway, Felicia, like Tempe will all of a sudden start spouting facts about ancient tribal coming of age customs while talking to a 13 year old boy when he's claiming to "not be a child". I totally confess to having a whopper of a girl crush on Felicia. She's that awesome.
Gideon was a great counterpart for Felicia. For someone so analytical, like Felicia, Gideon's inability to emotionally connect seemed a perfect match. After having been held captive and tortured while in the military he feels he is a broken man, unable to love. As a matter of fact he credits his inability to love for saving his life while all his fellow soldiers died one by one crying out to their wives and children. Who doesn't like a tortured hero? Plus he has an amazingly hot bedroom voice that the women of Fool's Gold stay up listening to during his late night radio show.
Because Felicia is now the Festival Coordinator we get a glimpse of her behind the scenes action organizing them. It was nice to understand a little more about the ever present 'Festivals' that Fool's Gold has every month. This made Fool's Gold more of a quaint touristy town to me instead of the perfect Stepford town.
I also liked how Mallery brought in several new characters who will, no doubt, have their own books in the future. We get to see Angel and Consuelo, both of whom are part of Justice's Body Guard School (sounds like a weird an unnecessary school but I just went with it.) Taryn Crawford is new in town also who 1/3 owner of a PR firm called Score that is coming soon to Fool's Gold. She blew in briefly to another up and coming business (The Christmas Attic) while looking for directions and made a great impression on Felicia, her friends and myself. I'm sure she will develop into another great character, one I am looking forward to.
What Didn't Work: Gideon's long lost son's plot thread. I'm not totally heartless but his addition to the story was pointless. He didn't seem a believable 13 year old boy. He made friends quickly with another 13 year old boy and together they cooked up a plot to get Gideon and Felicia to marry. After only a few months of knowing both Gideon and Felicia his match making ideas seemed just odd. I also thought he came across as a little too adjusted for someone having lost his mother to cancer (her second bout of it by the way). In my head she probably didn't go quickly and he witnessed her illness progression with no emotional support as there were no other relatives. His mom's friends were his foster family but they were going through a divorced so in a matter of one year he lost his mom and 2 homes, went by himself to a dad he didn't know (who didn't know anything about him) to a town he never heard of. Also not one person ever said anything close to..."Maybe we should seek out someone Carter can talk to, maybe a child psychologist or something." Despite a child's appearance of normalcy after having gone through a traumatic loss, such as losing the only parent he ever knew, counseling should have been a priority after making sure he was living in a safe environment.
In a Nutshell: Despite Carter's story line that I disliked a lot the rest of the book was pretty awesome. I love Felicia. I enjoyed my visit to Fool's Gold this time and am looking forward to another visit while reading Three Little Words soon. I really think those who are already fans of Fool's Gold will love this book and more importantly newbies to the series will enjoy it also. As an added bonus even though these books are all part of a series they can be read out of order (I have been doing just that). This is book 12 but only the 6th book I've read.