Cedar Creek Seasons
Publication date: September 1, 2012
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This collection of novelettes contains four Christian romance stories, each taking place in a different season of the year in the quaint midwestern town of Cedarburg, WI. Having lived near Cedarburg (my husband even worked there!) for a few years, I was very interested in how the authors would tie in the historic, small-town culture of the setting. If I had to pick one word to describe both Cedarburg itself and these stories, it would be: cute.
Each story follows a similar, predictable pattern, found in many romance novels and romantic comedy movies: (I guess some may consider this a spoiler?)
Woman meets Man… romantic interest blossoms (in 3 of 4 cases, this happens rather unexpectedly, at least for one of the couple)… a misunderstanding takes place which hurts Woman’s feelings and befuddles Man… one or the other receives advice from a wise outsider… Man makes his apology and explanation, Woman feels embarrassed about her assumption… they make amends and all ends well.
Each book contains some variation on this basic plot, and the authors pull in the setting in interesting, though maybe a bit cheesy ways. Each makes a mention of the historical covered bridge — the last original one standing in Wisconsin — and each somehow ties in the historic downtown main street, with its local shops and festivals. Some of the characters were more interesting and unique than others, but each author managed to really give the reader a good idea of the main characters in a short amount of time.
Some may not consider this a downside, but for me, the stories were a little too cutesy. Some of the descriptions of Cedarburg felt more like I was reading through their chamber of commerce website, with way more details than were actually necessary to the story. At one point, a character’s “stomach lurched, as if he’d eaten too many deep-fried cheese curds following breakfast.” I love cheese curds as much as the next Wisconsinite, but the description just seemed a bit silly. There were also some other phrases that just felt too contrived and out-of-place… “An embryo of a smile” and “the Jingle Bell Prince,” to name a few.
In some ways, this book reminded me a lot of Cedarburg itself… smaller than you’d expect, full of warm-fuzzies, and so quaint and cute that it can come off as a little cheesy. Fans of Christian romance are likely to eat this up faster than a box of homemade Cedarburg fudge — okay, maybe not that fast 😉
Thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy of this book to review! All opinions are my own!