Book Review: At Both Ends by Vanessa Lennox

at both ends This is my first book by Vanessa Lennox and it was a very decent read. I am  a big fan of the romantic suspense genre since it combines two of my favorite genres: romance and suspense. And Lennox managed to coalesce both these aspects of the genre quite well. Even though the romance part of the story was a bit predominant than the suspense, the suspense was unpredictable and that was what made me enjoy the book. The real culprit turned out to be someone I wouldn’t even have guessed.

When ER doctor Cate St John stitches up firefighter Lucas Cartwright, sparks fly. Cate ‘with a C’ St John and Lucas ‘not Luke’ Cartwright have a easy-rapport and some combustible chemistry. Lucas’s sweet nature knows no bounds. He’s a total darling. He takes Cate to picnics, he cooks for her, he feeds her during her breaks in the hospital, he takes care of her dog and he is amazing with her daughter Sophie. Cate on her part is pretty great too. She has been burned once in love, so she wants to look before she leaps. She wants to take things slowly. Cate is also understanding and knows when to push and when not to.

But no relationship is perfect. Though Lucas can anticipate Cate’s every little need and like Cate says, can read her mind, he also has a secret that could destroy their relationship forever. He is not very forthcoming about himself. He makes these occasional trips to Denver, but every time Cate asks him about it he shuts her down. His secretive nature stings her a little, but she doesn’t push.  Cate too has garnered some unwanted attention from a mystery guy. The intrusive anonymous calls she used to get suddenly doubles after she starts dating Lucas. Her stalker is willing to go to any extent to make sure no one else can have Cate if he can’t. Even if it means killing her.

The book was largely fun to read especially with all the ribbing Cate takes from her friends at her hospital. Even all the Lucas and Cate moments were fun and made sure you had a smile on your face. Cate’s daughter Sophie was pretty great too. She seemed a lot mature than her age.  Sophie was very perceptive and smart for a seven-year old. She was happy as long as her mother was happy. Knowing that Lucas made her mother laugh, Sophie readily accepts Lucas. I also loved Hero, Lucas’s 22-year-old daughter. She too easily accepted Cate and had a easy-going relationship with her. The only time the book gets intense is when the stalker makes an  appearance, or when Lucas’s secrets come out.

I loved Lucas’s family. He had a big family full of brothers and sister-in-laws and hoard of nieces and nephews. All of them loved Cate. His brother Jacob is another character that I loved. He was sweet and a bit wild. I liked him and Jordan, Cate’s best friend as a couple. Though that just happened in the last couple of chapters in the book. Their chemistry too was pretty hot, and even they had a bit of their own drama.

Bryan, Cate’s ex-husband creates a bit of drama himself too. He seemed like the kind of guy who would move on in life, but wouldn’t want others to do the same. In the start of the book he has met a woman he is interested in and tells Cate about her, but as soon as he finds out that Cate is dating Lucas, he gets all jealous and possessive. He is also the reason Cate finds out what Lucas’s secret is. Bryan does go on to accept that there is no hope of reconciliation between him and Cate and wants her to be happy.

The overall plot impressed me and so did the characters. I’ve read quite a few books in the romantic suspense genre where either romance gets puissance or suspense does. And every time I read a fairly balanced novel, I enjoy it quite a lot. The plot was expounded and the characters were well fleshed out and it was well-written. Though it was pretty much a case of insta-love between Lucas and Cate (and I’m not a fan of insta-love), I still enjoyed their relationship. There was so much happening in the book that you didn’t have time to count the number of days before they proclaimed their love for each other. A job well done. I’ll be trying to read more books by Ms. Lennox.

3.5 stars