Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️ 1/2
Desperate Times, Emily Goodwin’s second book in her new Silver Ridge series, is a story of second chances. This book continues the story of childhood friends, Sam and Chloe. In Book 1, Backup Plan, Sam and Chloe fought the good fight and finally admitted their long-time feelings for each other. In that book, they confess their undying love with the book ending with Sam being met with a shock from his past. Desperate Times is more of Sam and Chloe’s undying love except that Sam takes much of the book to reveal his secret. I really, really wanted to like these first two books because I enjoyed reading, to various degrees, Goodwin’s Dawson Family series. It is there where I decided to read Goodwin’s Silver Ridge series as these are the brothers of Dean’s wife, Rory. Alas, I am heartbroken because I simply didn’t love these books. I struggled through Backup Plan, hoping that Desperate Times would ameliorate my struggle with that book. Unfortunately, it only underscores the idea that, I believe, Emily Goodwin needs stronger beta-readers. I hate to write those words because I understand that this book is one of Goodwin’s “babies.” However, given more care, this book and its predecessor have a ton of potential.
For one, I don’t think Sam and Chloe needed a duet. There is quite a bit of repetition in the two books. In the first book, the struggle is allowing themselves to fall for each other. It takes most of that book for them to accept their interest and for Chloe to forgive Sam for the choices he made out of immaturity. Goodwin draws our their chemistry. In fact, between the two books, that is what Goodwin does well. However, that is also an issue, especially in Desperate Times, because Sam’s only three focuses in this second book are bedding Chloe, telling her constantly how much he adores her physical attributes in the bedroom (read between the lines here), professing his “I love yous”, and worrying over needing to share his secret. This is it. As a physician, he unravels too easily even though he claims to handle the pressure of being a trauma anesthesiologist well. He is written “uneven” for this story.
Similarly, I am not a huge fan of Chloe’s. Between reminding us of her eccentricity and her acceptance of it, along with her own constant professions of love for Sam, she isn’t a heroine that I felt invested in. Yes, Goodwin attempts to draw her as an independent, self-made woman, but this characterization is repetitive throughout Desperate Times AND Backup Plan.
Additionally, the story doesn’t really go anywhere. Desperate Times reads like a daily log of activities with some inciting incidents that never build in gravity. It takes Sam until 88% into Desperate Times to finally share his secret with Chloe. Yes, I understand the want for authors to build to a climax, but the rising action of this romance reads flat. Either Sam and Chloe are engaging in bedroom activities or Sam is worrying over his relationship with Chloe or they are remembering the past while doing present activities. It’s a merry-go-found for Chloe and Sam, and it causes the story to drag. Even more, Chapter 27 and Chapter 28 are the same chapter.
I hate writing every word of this review because I read for enjoyment and to promote authors I’ve enjoyed in the past. For me, this book and the Backup Plan are not the normal caliber of Emily Goodwin. It was difficult to read this book because Sam and Chloe have the potential to be one of Goodwin’s best couples. Unfortunately, that potential isn’t realized in Desperate Times.
In love and romance,