Hazel Osmond was kind enough to send a copy of her second novel, The First Time I Saw Your Face (quite a mouthful) after she found out that I enjoyed reading her debut, Who’s Afraid of Mr. Wolfe. I really appreciate receiving a copy of this book from her not only because it’s a signed copy, but also because it’s not locally available. I’m always up for contemporary romance with more depth than usual and I feel like Hazel Osmond’s books fit that description.
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Sexy, dishevelled and just a little clumsy, he starts to make her believe that she can move on from the past and embrace life all over again. But he has a secret he’d do anything to protect and he’ll have to betray her to keep it…
Let me take a moment to comment on the cover, I’m usually not a fan of real people in book covers but I think they did a great job in choosing the model who posed as Jennifer. I like how stylish she looks – from her French manicure to her classy black top (or is that a dress?) – reminds me a bit of Unsticky’s cover. Only half of her face is shown and that’s in keeping with the book’s plot. Also, check out the hot pink spine, I think it looks good on my contemporary romance shelf:
The book’s summary is pretty vague, isn’t it? I don’t think it would be too spoilery if I flesh it out. Skip ahead if you’d rather not know details about the book though. Jennifer was planning to be a successful stage actress when a horrible car accident leaves her face scarred. After the accident, she decides to come back to her family’s farm, live a quiet life as an assistant librarian and forget her dreams of pursuing an acting career. Enter Mack Stone, former tabloid journalist who is being blackmailed to work undercover. His mission? Get as close to Jen as possible so she can dish out the details of her celebrity cousin’s love life. Their story is told from alternating points of view, which I think is a good idea because readers will see how Mack was reluctant to take advantage of Jen right from the start.
The First Time I Saw Your Face is all about the slow burn – it’s a quiet kind of romance filled with scenes that are all about the characters getting to know each other. I know I keep saying this but I’m a fan of romance that takes time to form. Jen feels like there’s no way someone good-looking like Mack will ever be interested in her. And Mack has conflicting emotions, he genuinely likes Jen but he can’t find a way to get out of the situation he’s in. I was worried about these two and how the problems would get resolved once Mack’s secret is out in the open. Overall, I found their love story sweet. I also liked how well-developed the secondary characters are – from their family members to the rest of the townspeople. Both of their families play significant roles in the story. I also found it interesting that the setting is Northumberland instead of London. Northumberland sounds beautiful based on the book’s descriptions but I’m not sure if I could ever stand how cold it is over there. I had fun reading this one, very easy to get into so I recommend it to fans of Hazel Osmond’s first novel as well as readers interested in British contemporary romance. The ebook has already been released and the paperback is coming out on August 16.