#Stellar Beginning – On A Night Like This (Callaways #1) by Barbara Freethy

The blurb reads,

From #1 NY times Bestselling Author, Barbara Freethy, comes a romantic new contemporary series about the Callaways, a big, blended Irish family born to serve and protect.

The second oldest of the Callaway clan, Aiden Callaway veered from the family tradition of urban firefighting and became a smokejumper, never questioning his choice until the job took the life of his friend, Kyle, and left Aiden with injuries and fractured memories. Everyone blames Aiden for what happened, but he doesn’t remember, nor is he sure he wants to remember.

The truth may clear Aiden of blame but destroy Kyle’s reputation and hurt the people he left behind. 
 
 Aiden seeks help from an unlikely partner… 
 
 Sara had always been untouchable, sweet, innocent, his sister’s best friend, and the girl next door. But one reckless night in their youth took their relationship to a new level.

Sara has never forgiven or forgotten the way Aiden brought it crashing down, but she’s no longer that girl with the crazy crush. She’s a woman in search of her own truth. The sparks between Aiden and Sara have been smoldering for a very long time. Sara is afraid to take another chance on a man who broke her heart, and Aiden knows better than anyone how dangerous an intense fire can be.

Check the book out on Barbara’s Website

Check the book out on Amazon

All Callaway Book CoversAs teenagers they weren’t ready for each other. Are they now?

Callaway Print Covers

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Right, so I’ve always wanted to read these series romances which talk about one family member at a time. I’ve not had the gift card balance on Amazon or a credit card to make those sort of purchases. And in a way, I’ve felt these books were too expensive for a common reader like me who barely makes money working online.

So when my favorite blog tour company, Novel Publicity, came out with a tour where I could read all the 8 books from a series, I jumped. I quite literally jumped. And I signed up for it.

I didn’t know I would be in for a huge huge ride. I am reading Book 6 as I type this review out and I cannot wait to discover what these others have in store for me.

I’ve always loved Romance and Suspense and I’ve always believed that their combination is potent. There are those books which are predominantly suspense which have a smattering of romance or erotica in them but this series isn’t like that. I can tell you that after having read 5 books with a different mystery and a different suspense being built up concurrently with a romance.

There’s an almost surreal quality to Romance novels in today’s age and time. We work so hard in our daily life and by some stroke, we live extremely stressful lives. Romance as a genre has such an important role in making people wear slightly tinted glasses, even for those 150 odd pages so that they can live a life where there is a HEA (Happily Ever After) involved.

The book starts off with Sara. She’s lived a life as a by-product of her father’s harsh judgement and cynicism. She’s lived her whole life being saddened by this rejection and feeling that her father somehow abdicated his responsibilities but not having enough courage to speak up.

And that strikes so close to home in so many cases. Expectations of doing well are so rife these days that a slight error of judgement can make parents lose their cool. Parenting in these times is hard.

Aiden is the second Callaway who has a slight history with Sara. He rejected her advances as a teenager adding to Sara’s guilt and rejection, damaging her further psychologically.

Sara comes to San Francisco to mend fences with her father and gets caught up in a fire. Aiden is home to get over the guilt of not saving his best friend. He needs answers.

A fire in Aiden’s neighboring house brings these two together. They embark on a journey to find out what secrets Sara’s father had fostered all these years and to find out what really happened in that smokejumping accident which caused Aiden’s best friend, Kyle’s death.

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My thoughts about this novel were that it seemed too conventional, the set up. Two people who came together and then slowly fell in love.

But then I was wrong. I realised I didn’t get anything being cynical about romance. I read the book like how it was, without drawing parallels to my own life and it flew so much better.

I could imagine Sara’s plight because I know how it is to feel like you’ve let someone down and then have the burden of not living up to expectations. That’s why I connected to Sara.

I somehow didn’t manage to connect as much to Aiden. I wanted to know more about his inner demons and his fears but somehow he did not bare himself as much as I would have liked. He felt a little aloof and that is the only place where I felt the book lacked.

When I read through the book, it just seemed like a movie playing right in front of my eyes with drama, love, peace, emotions and fire!!

This book started this series off with a BANG and I couldn’t wait to read what happened next. For the next few days when I read novel after novel, I could feel my life literally coming to a standstill as I ploughed through suspense after suspense to strip one Callaway bare after the other.

My Rating: 4/5

This is the perfect set up for the other 8 books. You can trace the journey of the Callaways and you mostly end up guessing which Callaway is going to be featured next. That’s the best part, moving forward with the book, moving forward with the characters.

Check the book out on Amazon

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