IT’S ONLY LOVE by Marie Force: Like Hitting a Moose


Its Only Love coverGreen Mountain Series

by Marie Force
Mass Market Paperback/E-Book
Print Length: 314 pages
Publisher:  Penguin/Berkley (November 3, 2015)

E-ARC provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


Ella Abbott has had a secret burning love for Gavin Guthrie for almost as long as her sister Hannah loved his late brother, Caleb. A few recent encounters have only added to her infatuation, especially the kiss they shared on the day Hannah got remarried and Gavin admitted that the re-marriage of his brother’s widow was hitting him hard. It doesn’t matter to Ella that Gavin is in a bad place or that he says he has nothing to offer her. It doesn’t matter that he’s made it clear there’s no hope for a future for them. All that matters is the overwhelming love and compassion she feels for him.

Gavin Guthrie is spiraling. It’s been seven long years since he lost his only sibling and closest friend, and he thought he had things under control until Caleb’s beloved dog died and his adored wife re-married. Since then, he’s been off the rails, drinking and fighting and even getting arrested for the first time in his life. It seems the only time the spinning stops and his demons leave him alone is when lovely Ella Abbott is around. Gavin knows it wouldn’t be fair to drag Ella into his darkness, but when Ella inserts herself into his life, what choice does he have but to allow her to soothe the ache with her sweetness and light?

My Take Oblong


I have been mad for this series until this book; I loved all of it, especially the modern take on the big family — cool, realistic and quirky people. But this was not Marie Force’s best effort in this series.  And, I am really sad about that. It’s like hitting a moose — my car may not be totaled but nothing will be the same.

Above, in Force’s blurb, you read “Gavin Guthrie is spiraling.” And he is.  Gavin has issues that require counseling, and probably AA.
Falling in love is not the answer to his problems. Ella is not the person who will keep him out of the dark.  Only he will have to ability to do that. This character has had love and support written into his life all around. His issues with fighting and alcohol require a professional, not a beautiful bed mate.

It is a fairy tale filled with the dreams of every woman or man who has loved a person spiraling down into deep, deep trouble. There needs to be more to Gavin’s recovery than finding love.

Ella may be heart broken to be without this guy, but believing one epiphany is going to solve his problems is just not how it works.

Maybe he is going to go get help after they hook up? I don’t believe that is the case. It seems like it’s a case on “one and done.”


There was a point of law in the book that I had to do some research on: whether a private company can fire someone for something they said as a private citizen.  It turns out that it is a grey area of employment law. And, while what I read was not conclusive, and one article seemed to contradict the next,  I learned some important things.
1. The right to free speech only matters when we have the government trying to infringe upon it.
2. When working for a private company, you may essentially be fired for any thing you say, any time and any place.Your company may have to fire you in a crafty fashion but they can probably get away with it. The only issue here is if the company has set forth a set of rules and standards for human resources.

So, you’re at a party and you say to another guest, “I think this war is stupid.”
The other guest’s brother died in the war, and s/he takes offense at your statement, he pops you in the nose and tells his friend who is in HR at your company. The company’s CEO also had a family member hurt in the war.  They fire you and tell you they are doing so because they don’t want someone who thinks like you do working for them.

My first thought was that this is illegal, but as I say above, turns out it may not be.  In some states political speech, especially outside of work hours is protected. Of course, the employer can also fire you because they don’t feel you are working out,  or they have decided to cut staff, without giving specifics. Unless they have an established system for review and dismissal outside of a probationary period. 

It seems to me the Abbotts, being stalwart and upstanding, would have such a system in place.  And, that they would recognize an opinion about war, however stupidly delivered, would constitute political speech and that said speech would not damage the business of the company (the courts are all over the map on that).  The behaviors didn’t match who I thought these characters were.

So, basically, this story was a disappointment for me. It my opinion it was unrealistic in the relationship and Ella was tripping down a primrose path with a cliff of sorrows waiting ahead. At least friends and family try to tell her this is trouble with a capital T. 
That she will, inevitably fail to listen to the warnings makes her less likable

And, the legal issue kind of eclipsed everything else for me: aside from it’s legality, it  completely changed my view of the Abbotts.  I would have thought that regardless of their personal opinion these characters would stand up for someone to have the right to a different opinion. Not everyone believes the recent war was a good idea, and some feel it unnecessarily put our troops in harms way.  It was not hate speech and didn’t imply anything negative about our troops. I respect that our trops carry on in their duties regardless of my, or their, personal beliefs. They are the folks who keep us safe.

Gavin is angry at the time because his sister-in-law is remarrying and his late brother’s dog died. The guy in the bar who said something insensitive was unaware that Gavin’s feelings were once again raw. In firing the insensitive lout, the Abbots make the employee responsible for Gavin’s behavior. This is so not the case.  They are no longer on my list of ideal families.

I will probably give the next book a shot, but I don’t feel the same way about Lincoln and Molly and their brood of children.

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