Shelter for Sophie, Susan Stoker

I really, really enjoyed this book. Having seemingly imperfect women that had such amazing strength and inner goodness was wonderful and also different. Not because there aren't other books with great, strong women, but because those women are either attractive with humility or attractive without any neuroses or imperfections beyond vulnerability and/or sass. Sophie, Quinn, Beth, Adeline...these women and more in this series are truly human, truly remarkable. They steal the show and have so much to offer. I'm a huge fan.

This is the first book I've read, not just of this series, but from this author. I'm in. I've signed up to be a reader for her because I can't get enough of these stories and am too impatient to wait for the released version.

On to the actual book review...

The mysticism aspect here was sometimes laid on quite thick and seemed a little contrived. Not that it wasn't accurate, I actually wouldn't know if it was or wasn't, but those moments were a bit awkward. That only happened a couple times, like the sudden realization of the need for the Enemy Way ceremony. I get it and the actual ceremony and the after part were great, it was just the explanation part that got a little awkward for me as a reader. Aside from that and one other moment, I was happy to have a huge, essential part of such a vibrant culture included. The way that it was an integral part of Chief is believable and heartfelt. I could honestly see a man like Chief both loving his heritage and becoming who he was as a result of it for both good and bad.
Chief as a man was solid, dependable, spiritual, and loyal. I liked him very much. His initial misunderstanding and then his determined and patient way of wooing Sophie was sweet and built up a lot of anticipation for the deepening of their intimacy. Their interactions were honest and sweet. Overall, it was a good match with his respect and reverence for human frailty and her spunk, tenacity, and inherent goodness.

Because of how tame it was in the passion department, I was perpetually surprised by the instances of cussing and dirty talking. I see nothing wrong with either thing, I was just taken aback every time it happened because I was never really expecting it. The tone of the book didn't just straddle the line between being suited for sweet or erotic, it was kind of schizophrenic about it. I would have liked it to be one or the other or a bit closer to both sides to switch between instead of shift from one extreme to the other. I'm not sure if this is just the author's style or something that other readers didn't see as an issue, but for me it was noticeable and a bit jarring. Other than that, I was glad that someone so sweet could also be very willing to be completely real and raw in her language and enjoyment of sexuality.

The dramatic stuff and the villain weren't really one in the same. The biggest drama came from the Navajo understandings of interlopers and spiritual interference in good things. Second to that was the drama with the hospital and arsonist. Having both of those things try to endanger both Sophie and the romance was interesting and kept the book from being too formulaic.

Overall, this was a really great book and I'm totally looking forward to the rest of the series. I happily read and reviewed this ARC for the author via thatbookrocks.

 Shelter for Sophie, Susan Stoker

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