When I saw the blurb for Moving Forward by P.J. Trebelhorn, I really wanted to read this novel. I don’t believe I’ve ever come across a story where a main character loses her wife to a brutal serial killer, and then a few years later meets and becomes attracted to the killer’s sister. This type of tale obviously sets up the perfect enemies-to-lovers romance. It also gives plenty of chances in the story for angst between the characters. I’m pleased to say that with the exception of a few glitches, I did enjoy this book.
I connected with the two main characters almost immediately, especially Shelby Ryan, the woman whose wife was murdered. I totally understood her thoughts and actions in the story. Iris Calhoun, the killer’s sister was really stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I honestly felt sorry for her. Two of my most favorite characters in this novel are actually not human. Luna, Shelby’s gorgeous Saint Bernard, and Dixon, Iris’ kitten really stole the show for me. I’m a sucker for a cute animal face.
This is totally a character driven tale, which is my favorite kind of story, so connecting with these folks and their pets was a must for my enjoyment. The setting of the novel didn’t hurt either since most of the story takes place in a town on the edge of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.
As I mentioned above, there are a few minor problems with the tale. The pace of the story is a bit slow in places, especially during the first half. It picks up the closer you get to the end with the conflict involving a stalker. I think if the author had added more direct interaction with the stalker earlier in the tale, it would have helped the pace. Also, the end of the book seems rushed. I would have liked to see either one more chapter or an epilogue to show us how the couple is doing.
I am glad I had the chance to read this romance. If you love a good enemies-to-lovers story with an interesting premise and a good bit of angst, then you should read this book.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.
This section is not part of my review, but something I want to say. I found out a few days before I started reading Moving Forward that the author, P.J. Trebelhorn had suddenly passed away on June, 13, 2021. It made this reading a bittersweet one since I knew this would be my last chance to read a new book of hers. While this made me sad, I can only imagine the sorrow of her loved ones. My condolences to Ms. Trebelhorn’s wife Cheryl, her family, and friends.