Cover Image: The Road to Rose Bend

The Road to Rose Bend

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Member Reviews

The cover is beautiful! I was expecting more of Hallmark movie type of book but found this to be more of a Lifetime one. Too many heavy topics thrown into one story. Both Cole and Sydney were suffering from lost so I felt to romantic side was too fast. Not appreciative of the "R" rated sex scenes.
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Review Rating: A | Reviewer: Shirley Fleming
Sydney Collins left Rose Bend eight years ago after her sister’s death, reeling from her parent’s rejection. Divorced and pregnant, she decides to return home to raise her baby in a place that meant so much to her growing up. Being the black sheep in the family, she knows what to expect on her return. But her baby is worth any sacrifice she faces personally to ensure her child grows up in a loving environment with family and friends. Cole Dennison is the first-person Sydney runs into when she returns to Rose Bend. Cole is still grieving for his wife and child he lost in childbirth. Sydney reminds him of everything he has lost so he intends to avoid her at all costs. But Sydney is not one to be ignored. She makes Cole feel guilty for his attraction to her. But when Sydney’s ex-husband threatens her newfound security in Rose Bend will Cole come to her aid or stay locked inside his grief?

Sydney has always been known in Rose Bend as a rebel. In the past eight years, she has grown up into a responsible adult, ready to take on the job of motherhood as a single Mom despite what the gossips may say behind her back. Cole is a broken man since the death of his wife and child. He’s an attorney and the Mayor of Rose Bend. He’s not living, he just exists from day to day. His heart is locked up tight with grief and he won’t allow anyone in, until now.

THE ROAD TO ROSE BEND is an emotional roller coaster ride for the two main characters in this story. Cole has been grieving for so long he’s afraid to reach out and try love again for fear of losing again. Sydney’s rejection by her family made her feel unloved and alone. When Sydney and Cole come together, they mend each other’s hearts. It’s a long road for both of them, but they manage to make it through. Cole and Sydney are coming from a place of pain so deep it’s overwhelming at times. Fortunately, they come out on the other end intact. The author has written another winner. Some of the scenes are so moving and realistic. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, be happy or sad. The characters are complex and compelling, likable, loveable, and just what you would expect from Ms. Simone.

THE ROAD TO ROSE BEND is a beautiful story and a joy to read. I recommend you add this book to the library. You won’t be disappointed. But have your Kleenex close at hand. You might just shed a tear or two
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Sydney the strong but complicated, faces challenges leaving an uninspiring but difficult relationship returning home pregnant and to an unwelcoming family. With the help of her best friend and her friend’s family, she begins to find herself until her ex threatens to take what Sidney desires most. She needs to rely on her friend’s brother who was still struggling from the tragic death of his wife and son in childbirth, a tragedy that creates a challenge coping with a woman about to give birth. Strong character building and engaging writing makes this good series starter.
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Small town romance with STEAM?  I am in.  I love the characters and personality  that small towns bring to a romance and this story of Sydney's return to Rose Bend after divorce and unexpectedly expecting is a fun and emotional ride.  Her struggles with grief, family issues and finding herself after marrying young is so relatable and honest.  Cole is the perfect partner for Sydney.  Her tough exterior and his cinnamon roll sweetness just makes a reader melt.  It also makes his loss and fear feel so much deeper.
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Sweet story of friends to marriage of convenience to HEA

Sydney and Cole have a long, intertwined history going far back into both their childhoods.  He married his high school sweetheart, who later died in childbirth.  She left their hometown behind and married Daniel, only to get divorced when she felt that her husband was the reason why she never developed drive to push for her career dreams.  A one-night-stand with the ex-husband leaves her pregnant yet determined to make a life for herself, by herself, so she heads back to her hometown to start over.

Losing his wife and child has left Cole deeply scarred and he honestly can't handle his attraction to a pregnant Sydney, nor is he ever again going to risk the kind of pain and heartbreak that love can lead to.  Still, he can't seem to stay away, and when Sydney needs someone in her corner when her ex sues for custody of their as-yet-unborn child, Cole proposes the perfect solution - as long as they both understand that it's just friendship, with absolutely no possibility of romance.  As this is a romance with a very satisfying HEA, these are famous last words, indeed.

I love the chemistry that Sydney and Cole share, and she was so sweet and gentle with his heart while he tried to figure out what to do with all the unwelcome feelings.  I was a left a little unsatisfied by her reasons for leaving her husband in the first place, as she seemed angry that he moved on with a woman who had the kind of career success she'd convinced herself she couldn't have while with Daniel.  However, since the story is about her romance with her best friend's brother, we can forget the past with Daniel as easily as she does and wish her all the best in her future with Cole.  

Lots of wonderful secondary characters set in a charming small town gave this story depth with a nostalgic appeal.  I'm looking forward to reading more in this series.  I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
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Sydney has returned home divorced, pregnant, and ready to put on her big girl panties in order to giver her baby the happy home and family she remembered from her childhood...even when she felt she lost it as a teenager. I loved Sydney. She was a misunderstood, sarcastically quipped, emotionally damaged woman who paid for past mistakes and was learning to navigate life while figuring out her value and where she belonged. 

Cole knows grief up close and personal. After losing his wife and baby, he’s thrown himself head first into work, doing everything he can to avoid the loneliness and guilt he feels for things beyond his control. Props to Cole for being an emotionally damaged guy who..mostly owned up to his issues, but always seemed to be a hair’s breath too late at times. His guilt complex sometimes overrode his own common sense, but I’ll give him credit for trying to fix things with Sydney. 

The Road to Rose Bend is similar to a Hallmark movie but with a fantastically diverse characters, understandable family dynamics and situations, and a lovely romance (okay, I admit I’d have liked more groveling from Cole’ll see...!) ar any rate, I am in love with this new series and am looking forward to Wolf’s book!! 

Bonus short story—Slow Dance at Rose Bend—Cherrie and Maddox were a brief mention in the book when Sydney meets them at a rally and I loved their cuteness! So double yay for short stories and gingers;)  This short explains Cherrie and Maddox’s hilarious first meeting and obvious chemistry while laying the groundwork for the very promising relationship Sydney got to witness in person. I hope to see future updates on this couple!

I received an advance reader copy from the Harlequin/Netgalley. This is my honest review.
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This is a Women's Fiction/Romance, and the is the first book in the Rose Bend series. This romance is sexy and steamy at times, but it also has a great storyline with great developed characters. This book is told in the point of view of Sydney, and She is strong well woman with a great sense of humor. I really loved her character. Her character comes to right off the pages of the book. I did not want to put the book down because I really wanted to find out what was going to happen behind Sydney and Coltrane. Coltrane was a good guy that has had to life though losing his wife and child. This book was so well written, and the characters was everything. I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher (Harlequin) or author (Naima Simone) via NetGalley, so I can give honest review about how I feel about this book. I want to send a big Thank you to them for that. This book is schedule to be release on April 27-2021.
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Sydney Collins is an unexpected heroine. The Road to Rose Bend by Naima Simone is a familiar story with interesting twists. While I found Sydney somewhat of a drama queen, she still surprised me with some smart decisions. Her responses to traditional roadblocks and problems that divorced, pregnant heroines face are clever and successful. Of course, Sydney immediately encounters new problems, but she keeps the readers on their toes. Plus, there is plenty of steamy sex to keep anybody reading.
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Sidney returns home newly divorced and pregnant. She had vowed never to return and knows her parents will not be welcoming but home seems like a good place to raise her child. Cole struggles with his pain from the death of his wife and child. Romance ignites and hope grows. Readers who gravitate toward romance as well as strength through adversity will welcome this read.
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YES! This novel was excellent. I cannot wait to read the rest of this series. Coltrane and Sydney are two peas in a pod, so alike yet so different, harbouring the same fears but different feelings. 
And this slow build and burn narrative suits this novel just right. This is a clarion call for women who feel stymied by their spouse, to get out and do their thing. 
Mr Right is waiting for you to leave Mr Right now.
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I really like how the author de opens the characters.  You begin to be invested in their well being and lives  right from the beginning of the book and it carries on throughout. The Road to Rose Bend was an easy, quick read.
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The Road to Rose Bend is a beautiful book. And this is my first book by Naima Simone.  I enjoyed reading this book I thought it was well written a page tuner and entertaining.  All the characters were amazing.  And I like how this was a believable story. I recieved an ARC from Net Galley and Harlequin for my honest opinion. I loved the book!!
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Thank you @netgalley and @harlequin for the advanced copy!

26-year-old Sydney Collins returns home to her small town, divorced and pregnant. Her best friend, Leo and her family, the Dennisons, welcome her home with open arms while Sydney’s own parents have trouble understanding their daughter’s decision to end her marriage even though she’s expecting her (now) ex-husband’s baby. Sydney’s return home also catches the attention of Leo’s older brother, Coltrane (Cole) Dennison.

We find both Sydney and Cole at particularly rough moments in their lives. As mentioned, Sydney is divorced and her rocky relationship with her parents is a result of grief and unresolved trauma over the death of her sister, Carlin. Meanwhile Cole has lived the past two years of his life in a tremendous state of grief after losing his wife and son; he dove into his work as a lawyer to become Rose Bend’s first nonwhite mayor. 

What really works in this book is their chemistry and their gradual buildup. I think the author does a really good job of drawing your attention to them with small but passionate moments. I also really appreciate both perspectives of dealing with their losses. Cole’s family is a bright spot because of their healthy and supportive dynamic and they’re all interesting characters that I'd love to learn more about as the series progresses. 

My biggest gripe about this book was the mean girl antagonist who makes several unwanted appearances. I really could’ve done without it because 1) to me, it’s just a tired and played out trope, and 2) I think there was an opportunity for her significance to Sydney to have manifested itself as literally anything else. Adding this character felt like yet another thing to deal with on top of everything else that goes on for Sydney. Plus I was way more interested in the grief of the two main characters and their individual family dynamics. 

Also, I was surprised at how abrupt the ending felt! Maybe I’m spoiled with gushy epilogues, but it was just the grand gesture and that was it, I felt like I needed a little bit more. This is book one of new series by Naima Simone so hopefully in book two, we get to see more of these two.
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If you were looking for a sweet relatively clean romance, the cover of The Road to Rose Bend could make you think you'd found one, but you would be wrong.  While I enjoyed to story of Cole and Sydney, it was a very "physical" book.  The word "dick" was used 18 times in the book, and most of those references were not during bedroom scenes.  There were several bedroom scenes and they were vivid enough to serve as tutorials.  

Those looking for diversity in reading material may be interested in knowing that Sydney is Black and Cole is Puerto Rican (but adopted by a family of Irish heritage).  While his heritage is explicitly made clear early in the book, I was quite a ways into the book before I realized that she was African-American. 

I liked both Cole and Sydney and enjoyed watching them let go of old hurts and learn to love again but I didn't like all the crude references to male anatomy nor the front row seat on the bedroom action.  

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley.  Grade: B-
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From the cover and description I thought this would be a Hallmark Channel type of read.  I got that and more.  Sydney returns to her small hometown, Rose Bend in the Berkshires, after being gone eight years.  Divorced and pregnant she is determined to have her child raised with a sense of family and community.  Sydney's best friend Leo and family welcome her more than her own parents.  Leo's brother Cole, is a lawyer and the towns first non-white mayor.  Sydney turns to Cole when her ex-husband threatens her plans for the future.  Cole has his own issues.  For two years he has lived in grief for his wife and unborn son.  But Sydney sparks something within him and he wants to help.

I especially enjoyed the diversity in the population of Rose Bend.  The chief of police, mayor, doctor and more are people of color.  I was new to the author and was not expecting the amount of heat between the two main characters.  The story was well written dealing with issues of grief, loss, race, mean girls and parenting.  On the downside, every time Cole calls Sydney "Baby girl", I vomited a little in my mouth.  The first time he says it she is seeking his advice professionally as a lawyer and I wanted to scream "run girl".  I liked the grand gesture and the scene in the doctors office but Cole's last request (trying not to spoil) seems odd and unneeded.

This is the start of a new series and I will be looking forward to future books.  Thank you NetGalley and the Harlequin for an ARC ebook in exchange for a honest review.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest received of this book.  To begin, I'm not a romance reader.  I normally read urban fantasy, fantasy, and science fiction.  However, based on a webinar I attended I really enjoyed what the author had to say regarding this book and decided to give it a try.  If you like Hallmark movies then this book is for you!  However, one aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the multi-racial cast of characters, from the hot Latino males, African Americans, to the powerful don't mess with  me elder females ``monarchs".  This aspect of the book will not be found on the Hallmark channel.  The characters were well thought out and very captivating.  However, with all the above being said, on more than one occasion, the characters acted very juvenile.  If Cole, our main male lead character, called Synedy, "baby girl" one more time, I would have thrown the book across the room.  He's the mayor of the town, not some 16 kid trying to convince a girl to have sex with him.  Speaking of sex.  I'm all for sex scenes.  However, there's one sex scene that goes on for a full chapter.  To the point, I'm like "enough already!". I thought the ending was very abrupt.  Everything was wrapped up with a nice little bow attached, but abrupt. I can gladly recommend this book with the above reservations.
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Sydney Collins is divorced, pregnant, and going back home to Rose Bend.  Coltrane Dennison is the very handsome brother of  her dearest friend.  They have both experienced loss, Sydney her sister Carlin and Cole his wife and child.  They reconnect through their family ties, both have changed, they have both experienced profound loss and they both find their way to each other.  I enjoyed this book.  Sydney and Cole are protagonists that you root for, you want them to rebuild their ties to the lives that they want and find their way to each other.  I am eagerly anticipating the continuing books in the series since there is a lot of story left.
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This book had all the feels. I couldn't put it down and stayed up late to finish. 
Cole and Sydney are so damaged by everything life has thrown at them and yet there's hope as well. Hope is a big theme throughout this story and it really touched me deeply. 
I laughed, cried, became angry and felt total joy for these characters and for myself. 
As a widow who found love a second time, parts were difficult to read, but so full of truth. 
This is a must read! Ms. Simone is a beautiful writer and her books should not be missed.
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This is for people that really love the angst. There was just a tremendous amount of it in this book and if you like that really high emotional drama factor, you will like this book. FOr me, the ending felt a little rushed for the sheer amount of super emotionally weighty plot lines it introduced.
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Except for the chapter which consisted almost exclusively of a description of sex between Sydney and Cole that dragged on and on and on until it became so boring I was forced to skip it and go onto the next, this was an enjoyable read. Cole, Sydney and the rest of the cast were well drawn characters and although it was obvious from the beginning the two would find their "happily ever after" in the end, the twists and turns along the way kept my attention and I was able to lose myself in the story.
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