At first glance, Damon MacGregor is living his best life as a bachelor and veterinarian in rural Wisconsin. That is until a wounded crane and an enchanted stranger bring his house-of-cards life crashing down. Not exactly where she expected to be at this time in her life, Catrina “Cat” Carneri has left her dreams in Montana to move back to her hometown where she is nursing a broken heart and working for an ungrateful boss.
A chance encounter at a wildlife rescue changes everything. Cat’s calm and organized demeanor impresses Damon. However, it is how her hair reminds him of autumn and is complimented by her curvaceous figure that beckons him to pull Cat into his arms, claiming her as his own. Damon’s compassion and gregarious personality intrigues Cat. Yet it is his cobalt blue eyes that first capture her heart; so infinite in their depth, she knows the moment he touches her, he takes a hold of her soul.
Soon after forging their passionate bond, a secret from Cat’s past has her facing a difficult decision. If she tells Damon the truth, he may leave or give her the chance to rebuild his trust. If she keeps the secret and Damon finds out, he will leave her forever.
Canoodling Up North is a love story about building fulfilling relationships; fostered in traditional values, confronted by modern complex challenges, while being nurtured by Wisconsin’s natural, cultural, and spiritual beauty.
Canoodling Up North is the debut romance novel by Shawn M. Verdoni. It is a contemporary romance set in Wisconsin. It paints a charming picture of small towns and natural areas of the state. The heroine, Cat Carneri, is a grant writer for an animal rescue non-profit. The hero, Damon MacGregor, is a veterinarian with a specialty in acupuncture. Both have endured bad relationships, but find a wonderful new experience with each other, especially in their numerous sexual experiences.
There are certain components of romance writing that are universally considered critical to the genre and are universally expected by readers. The essence of the romance story is conflict and the romance novel is about the lovers’ struggle to overcome that conflict. In Canoodling Up North there was no conflict through 80% of the book. Another standard is for writers to “show, don’t tell.” Canoodling was a victim of simply too many words. There was detail after detail about both the main and secondary characters. Plus, everyone was just too perfect. And the hero and heroine did not even meet until the third chapter. Finally, readers need to be aware that this book ends with a cliffhanger and the story will continue in the next book.
Writing a review like this is difficult. The author has an excellent command of language and her characters were engaging. With the help of a good editor she could develop into an effective romance author. But Canoodling Up North only deserves a lukewarm recommendation.