Review: Fragile Sanctuary by Catherine Cowles (Sparrow Falls #1)


Note: An advance reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author.

"Sometimes, it feels like the guilt is going to swallow me whole," I admitted. 
A few tears spilled over Rho's lids, dropping to my chest. Her hand slid down, covering the spot where they'd fallen. "I know. I'd give anything to take it away for you. Anything. But I can't. All I can say is that I know."

There's always a thrum of excitement every single time Catherine Cowles releases the first book in a new series. After Anson Hunt was introduced in Ashes of You (book five in the Lost & Found series), I was more than curious as to what his back story was and why he was as reclusive as he was. I also wanted to know who what kind of individual would be the one to take on his grumpy ass and let him see that there was still a lot of living to be had. But I had no idea just how traumatizing the events that led to this thirty-five-year-old to build such a fortified wall around himself were. And who would have thought that he needed some sunshiny to seep into his soul and plant and sow seeds of love and hope in the form of a twenty-seven-year-old who knows a thing or two about loss and trauma?

If you've read the Lost & Found series ender, then you'll recall that Anson was mentioned as being a former profiler with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Behavioral Analysis Unit, and it was hinted that something devastating to a loved one during that time. Two years since he left law enforcement, Anson now works in restoration and construction for his best friend's business. When the next project turns out to be a partially burnt house that belongs to the man's foster sister, Anson knows he should keep his distance. But something about Rhodes Stirling has his protective instincts roaring back to life. But he's got a cache of dark secrets that appear to be ready to wreak havoc on him...and Rho.

Catherine Cowles knew what she was doing when she brought Anson into the consciousness of her readers in Ashes of You. Our curiosity was piqued and there was no way we would rest until we learned more about him. And now, it's his story with Rho that sets the ball rolling for the Sparrow Falls series, and talk about setting the bar astronomically high. The romance ticked off all the boxes for me, from sweet to swoony to steamy (and repeat!), and the suspense was top notch, leading to me switching suspects more than once (turns out my first one was the right villain!). As always, the elements of family and community clicked with me, and I'm eager to see what awaits the rest of Rho's siblings as we journey on in Sparrow Falls, Oregon. Five-plus stars for Fragile Sanctuary.

Release Date: 16 May 2024

Date Read: 05 May 2024

Learn more about Catherine Cowles.

Purchase Fragile Sanctuary on Amazon.

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