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A Touch of Frost
By  Jo Goodman
Berkley
June 2017

The handsome stranger on the train is a bit distracting, but Phoebe Apple has bigger things on her mind. Her trip from New York City to Frost Falls, Colorado has given her plenty of time to think about the upcoming reunion with her sister, Fiona, and Phoebe has more than a bit of trepidation about the impending event. Her concerns about her sister evaporate, however, when Phoebe is kidnapped from the train as part of a robbery gone awry, and the handsome stranger, Remington Frost, slips to the back of her mind, for now.

Phoebe quickly learns that the stranger is none other than the son of her sister’s new husband, Thaddeus. Safely returned to Thaddeus’ ranch, Phoebe finds that Fiona hasn’t changed much from the star of the stage she’s always been, selfish and self-centered despite the stability and love marriage to Thaddeus provides. Phoebe has bigger worries, though, as it comes to light that her kidnapping and the train robbery were much more complicated than anyone originally thought. The robbers are still on the loose, and it’s not long before Remington and Phoebe begin to put the pieces together to untangle the web of events that brought them together before their community is torn apart.

Author Jo Goodman is known for her historical romance novels set in the Old West, and A Touch of Frost has all of the elements one would expect from a western: bad guys, handsome ranchers, pretty newcomers and a wealthy widow married to a woman no one would expect him to marry. This is all well and good, but at times the plot becomes a bit too entangled and complicated, with too many characters with unclear connections between them. Even at the end of the story it’s a bit difficult to understand what drove the robbers in the first place and what all of the connections between the characters really meant.

What is wonderful, and what totally saves this story is the relationship between Phoebe and Remington. While they are immediately attracted to one another, Remington sees Phoebe for who and what she is, and he allows, in fact encourages, her to be her own woman. Phoebe also grows to see Fiona in a somewhat different light, encouraging Fiona to accept the love and constancy that Thaddeus has to offer. Phoebe and Remington are terrific together, in fact they fairly sizzle, but other parts of the plot dampen that sizzle to a fizzle at times. A Touch of Frost is an enjoyable read, but it’s not quite up to the can’t-put-it-down standard Jo Goodman’s fans have come to expect.

 


Joyce Greenfield, ReaderToReader.com
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