Cold November Rain by Nicole Warren is an entertaining romantic suspense novel that explores the difficulty of trusting another in love when one hasn’t overcome the demons of the past.
Charlotte, after her husband died, moved on quickly, but it ended in disaster. As a consequence, she’s shut herself off from the world, fearful that her past will catch up with her. After a hiking accident, Emmett comes to her rescue. He’s kind, loving, and full of life. Can he help Charlotte out of her exile and teach her to love again? Or will her secrets destroy any chance of happiness?
When Charlotte meets Emmett for the first time, spark don’t fly, but there’s a flicker of attraction. However, Charlotte’s determination to be completely independent rears its ugly head and this sets the tone for the majority of the novel.
Charlotte is reeling from a horrific event or events in her past. Warren drops hints about her state of mind, but doesn’t shed much light on the catalyst for Charlotte’s fear. For the most part, this method works. Curious readers will keep turning the pages to hopefully unearth what happened. At times, not knowing the basics of what happened is frustrating. This frustration, oddly, keeps the reader engaged in the story.
The rocky relationship between Charlotte and Emmett starts off right away. For the most part, Emmett is sweet and understanding. There are flashes of anger and snap judgments, but the majority of the time he’s a great guy and seems too good to be real. It’s hard to imagine many people would put up with all of Charlotte’s secrets, mood swings, fear, and depression right out of the gate. This ups Emmett’s likability factor and it’s nice to think that there are people like him in the world.
However, how many people would accept a complete stranger into their life and home in less than twenty-four hours of meeting? This rush makes the story somewhat unbelievable. Add in the rockiness of their relationship even when Emmett and Charlotte are only friends, it nudges the reader more into thinking the author is trying too hard to keep the main characters together. It might have been better to build up their relationship before the two share a house to make the story more plausible.
The main problem circles back to the issue that the reader is completely in the dark about Charlotte’s past. A short prologue about what happened would have helped ease the reader into why Charlotte is terrified to let someone in. The prologue wouldn’t have to give the entire secret away, because it propels the entire story, but a simple glimpse would connect the reader to the main character making it easier to cheer for her against all odds.
The final pages of the novel bring everything to light and it really rescues the novel. These pages fill in so many gaps in the story and there’s the much needed a-ha moment.
Overall, Cold November Rain is an enjoyable read, but a couple of tweaks could really make it great.