Third in the Red River Valley series, the author once again visits this small town in New Mexico; I started the series here and had no problem following along with the characters. The majority of the story had a women's fiction and sweet small town contemporary feel and then the last thirty percent or so was filled with Miranda and Talmadge getting down and dirty; it felt a little jammed packed in. Our heroine and hero were both good people but also had enough rough edges to make them feel more real but also may rub some the wrong way. Miranda could be overly mule headed towards help that felt exaggerated to show "she don't need no man!" and Talmadge had a tendency to steam roll that made me side-eye how he was treating Miranda's thoughts and feelings.
Usually found in historicals, the main plot mechanism to keep our couple together was a secret will stipulation that had Talmadge having to stay in Red River to inherit his money; it's a bit harder of a pill to swallow in contemporaries. Miranda and Talmadge could have a little doth protest too much over their attraction for one another and a bit of dramatic feelings of betrayal towards the ending but they also had enough facets to feel like I was reading about real people. It's In His Smile has enough shenanigans, personalities, and steam to satisfy your small town contemporary cravings.
Read the full review at: Reading Between the Wines book club