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    Review of SUGARTOWN by Leandra Logan

    Harlequin American Romance #1108, March 2006

    Reviewed by Cathy Richard Dodson (see her website)

    Tina Mills knows she's never been close to her mother, but she doesn't know there's a reason. When her mom has a stroke and she learns from her two aunts that she was the illegitimate child of a woman with whom her father had an affair, it becomes clear why her 'adoptive' mother always held her at arms' length. Still, now that she knows she has a 'real' mother out there somewhere, Tina determines to find the woman and try to reconnect with her.

    Some letters in a box of her father's, signed only by 'Honey Bee,' lead her to a place called Sugartown, where her father stayed during his days as a travelling salesman. Tina, a documentary filmmaker, convinces her business partner--and the town--to take part in a contest seeking America's best small town, surreptitiously a way to meet people and try to find out who her mother might be. Unfortunately, the town sheriff, Colby Evans, isn't too keen on the plan. He doesn't want to see his town, or his son, Jerod, made into a parody by some New York City girl out to make a buck.

    Little by little, however, Tina convinces Colby she's only do right by the town, while keeping her secret about the real reason for her being in Sugartown all to herself. She narrows the list of possibilities to three women, and spends her time interviewing each of them, not only for her film, but also as her perspective mother. But Tina also finds something she isn't looking for in this small northeastern town--romance with a good-looking sheriff as well as his son. In the end, she'll have to make decisions about what's really most important in life.

    Sugartown perked my interest with its missing mother mystery and filmmaker heroine, and I liked the small town atmosphere of the story. The romance seemed a little too 'easy' for me, and I'd have liked to see more conflict before the two main characters fell into bed together. I did enjoy the secondary characters in this novel, and the final revelation was something of a surprise. A fun read, all in all.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 4/24/06

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