Bright Eyes by Catherine Anderson
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars419 pages
Bright Eyes (June 2004) is the next entry in the Coulter Family series. This novel tells the story of Zeke Coulter’s romance with a struggling single mother of two named Natalie Patterson who lives next door. Zeke forms an attachment to Natalie after her son Chad vandalizes his property and he offers the boy an opportunity to work for him to pay off the debt. Natalie is an aspiring singer who develops a relationship with Zeke after seeing how well he handles her son. She has to juggle with her supper club that is soon to be bankrupt, her shady ex-husband, and her growing feelings for Zeke. As the story progresses Zeke becomes more involved with Natalie and her children, including her four year old daughter Rosie, and he even tries to get Natalie back into singing professionally.
The conflict that emerges towards the end seems a bit forced, as if Anderson needed something really dramatic to shake up the relationship between Zeke and Natalie. The romance in this story does not have as much depth as the previous novels in the series and by the end of the book Zeke and Natalie appear to be settling for one another because the chemistry is lacking. The stronger characters in the book are the kids Chad and Rosie, and that speaks to how uninteresting the romance is in Bright Eyes. Anderson stumbles in the fourth book of The Coulter Family Series, not because it’s a bad story overall, but because it pales in comparison to the previous novels.