Evergreen Falls was my third novel by Kimberley Freeman, and while I liked it, it paled in comparison to the other books by her. In Lighthouse Bay and Ember Island, the spunky and determined heroines made their journey from kept wives to free women enjoyable to read. Here, the story was packed with women, but none of them were the feisty characters I have come to expect from this author.
As with so many historical fiction novels, the story was divided into two story lines, one in 2014 and one in 1920. The story of Lauren in the present trying to get a life after spending so much of it caring for her recently deceased brother was extremely pathetic. Apparently, she had never had a boyfriend or been physically intimate, making each advance by her new love interest awkward to the point of embarrassment. I have a hard time connecting with characters who are too insecure, and really only saw her narrative as a way to explain what happened to the real heroine of the story, Violet.
Violet, a waitress at the hotel and spa, Evergreen Falls, had a completely predictable plot: she falls for Sam, a rich hotel guest whose family couldn’t possible approve of their love affair. Their relationship culminates in an unwanted pregnancy that threatens to destroy Violet’s life. Sam was addicted to opium and vacationing at the hotel with his sister, Flora, whose only goal was to help Sam kick his habit. I personally didn’t care much for the addiction topic and found it overpowering at times.
As Flora wrestled with the secrets she learned about her own fiance and watched the love affair between Sam and Violet blossom, she learned about herself and made some important decisions that changed her fate. I liked Flora, but she was such a weak character that it was excruciating watching her make some of the bad decisions.
Through a murder, secrets, lies, and love, the novel presented an entertaining read. Freeman is still one of my favorite authors, but her other two book are my favorites.