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Paperback Book Details
  • 03/2024
  • 9798987736340
  • 272 pages
  • $15.99
Cat Treadgold
The Changed Man
Jake O’Connell shocks his estranged family by attending his brother David’s wedding in Port Townsend. The arrogant CEO turned affable thriller writer seems inclined to stick around, thanks to the lovely Chiara, another visitor looking to escape a harsh reality.
Resurrecting the delights and dishy pleasures of epic family sagas, Treadgold immerses readers once again in the O’Connell family in this fourth Olympic Peninsula series love story (after The Magic Man). Jake O’Connell, the storied CEO of the family empire, is no stranger to taking care of business; he was the sibling who stayed behind after their father’s death—while his estranged twin Joe went on to country music stardom—to take over the lucrative family business. Jake’s path granted him wealth, wine, and women, but now, on the brink of finding it all too superficial, Jake returns, quite unexpectedly and as a decided outsider, to the family fold.

Treadgold skillfully teases out the complexities of multigenerational relationships, twisting the individual threads of the O’Connell family into one immense, labyrinthine tapestry that hums with the conflicts and interplay expected from a large, high-powered family. As his siblings find their way to their happily-ever-afters, Jake finally grasps the opportunity to follow his own dreams: becoming an author, something he sacrificed to fulfill his father’s legacy. His family reunion isn’t quite as sweet as expected, and, as Treadgold plumbs the intricacies of jumbled family dynamics, Jake surveys his own life choices and struggles to make sense of his instant attraction to Chiara, the Italian guardian of his brother’s child.

Jake and Chiara—a fellow outsider who’s currently embroiled in a loveless marriage—make a spirited couple, as they face nearly impossible challenges, both paranormal and not, on their road to happiness. Treadgold leaves readers guessing throughout, weaving a suspenseful will-they-or-won’t-they with rapid perspective changes and rich descriptions of her characters’ luscious lifestyles. That chaos makes the threads challenging to track at times, but, in the end, this is a satisfying escape into the lives of the rich, the famous, and the wounded.

Takeaway: High-powered family saga with a hint of the paranormal.

Comparable Titles: Bobbie Jean Huff’s The Ones We Keep, Lisa Kleypas’s Dream Lake.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

Independent Book Review

Love, passion, and self-transformation converge in this slow-burn romance.

The Changed Man is the fourth installment in the Olympic Peninsula series. The novel continues with the O’Connell family and focuses particularly on Jake O’Connell.

The story kicks off with Jake’s unanticipated appearance at his brother David’s wedding. Jake has just stepped down as the CEO of his family business—Big Paul’s Outfitters—and started on a new path to becoming a successful thriller author. However, this sudden career and life change has raised the eyebrows of almost everyone in his family, especially his mother.

Jake doesn’t care though. After years of watching his siblings chase their passions and make use of their gifts, he is ready to do the same. He rents a former B&B Victorian mansion in Port Townsend, intending to find his new self and inspiration for his second book. It becomes more than that, however, when he meets the beautiful Chiara.

Chiara Conti Jeffreys is an Italian-born woman who moved to the US as an exchange student. She worked as a social worker and therapist before meeting and marrying her husband. But her marriage is far from blissful and idyllic.

When she meets Jake for the first time, she is mesmerized. The attraction is instant, mutual, and too tempting to ignore. But there’s a problem: Chiara’s marriage. What will happen when Chiara’s husband comes looking for her? Will Jake and Chiara’s affair ever evolve to something more?

The Changed Man explores themes such as finding one’s passion, healing, love, insecurities, grief, and identity.

Jake O’Connell reminds readers that it’s never too late to turn things around or pursue their dreams. Though the son of one of the wealthiest families, Jake never had the opportunity his siblings had to build on his passion for writing. He was saddled with the responsibility of taking care of the family’s business and fitting into the image his mother and father created for him. This made him resentful, bitter, and jealous. But after he witnessed the death of his best friend, he decided to forgo the cold businessman lifestyle and forge a new path. “He’d wasted years gnashing his teeth over his brother’s betrayals. Now he saw the folly of that. The only person he’d hurt was himself.”

Jake’s transformation unfolds as a healing journey, where newfound joy replaces the bitterness that had long consumed him. His insecurities, vulnerability, and grief are well woven into the storyline and make him a compelling and evolving character. 

Author Cat Treadgold’s ability in storytelling shines. The prose, while beautifully lyrical, doesn’t overshadow the central focus on the plot and romantic entanglements. The pacing is well-executed, and the book seamlessly transitioning between several characters.

In addition to developing Jake and Chiara’s chemistry and romance, The Changed Man intricately navigates the nuanced challenges within the marriages of the three couples from the previous books in the series: Joe’s vocal issues and the potential return to touring, coupled with Ali’s fear of another traumatic pregnancy; Teresa and Liam’s marriage navigating uncertain waters and confronting the cracks that threaten its foundation; and David’s reservation with Maddie’s future acting career. This exploration adds more depth and complexity to the novel, even if it does slow down Jake and Chiara’s story. 

Although the book is designed to be a standalone, and author Treadgold skillfully addresses any gaps or questions relating to the previous books, I would recommend starting with the first book in the series. This will give readers a whole lot more context to the O’Connell family dynamics and the other characters’ backgrounds.

The Changed Man is a captivating exploration of love, passion, healing, and self-discovery, enriched by a diverse cast and a sprinkle of paranormal intrigue.

Literary Titan Book Reviews

Cat Treadgold’s novel, The Changed Man presents a compelling story revolving around Jake O’Connell. A figure of disruption, Jake attends his brother’s wedding in Port Townsend, signaling a departure from his previous life as a CEO in North Bend. The narrative delves into Jake’s transformation and his complex relationship with his family, particularly his twin, country singer Joe Bob Blade. Resentment lingers as Jake grapples with his past role in the family business, setting the foundation for an engaging tale.

In Port Townsend, Jake inhabits a Victorian mansion, where his life appears content yet marked by distraction. The loss of a close friend looms over him, hinting at a troubled mental state. Treadgold introduces a new chapter in Jake’s life as he embarks on a career as a thriller author, a path met with skepticism by his peers. His muse, the captivating but married Chiara, adds layers to the story.

The novel skillfully explores the nuances of family dynamics, the complexities of life in Port Townsend, and the intriguing connections Jake forms, especially with Chiara. Treadgold’s narrative is rich with surprises, family secrets, and a mix of romance and passion. Her writing style is known for its depth, emotional insight, and ability to articulate complex feelings. She creates a setting that feels both idyllic and escapist, drawing the reader into a vividly imagined world.

In The Changed Man, the relationship between Jake and Chiara evolves with a slow-burning intensity, adding depth and a sense of anticipation for the reader. Treadgold examines the interplay of actions, words, desires, and familial bonds with notable precision. As part of a series that includes three other novels, Treadgold continues to deliver engaging narratives with well-developed characters and intricate plotlines. Her approach to the romance genre is both sweet and complex, satisfying readers with its richness and depth.

The Prairies Book Review

An emotional roller coaster of a journey that’s both warm and engrossing.

Treadgold returns to her The Olympic Peninsula series for a layered and spectacularly intricate sequel that also functions well as a standalone. Jake O’Connell’s arrival in Port Townsend for his brother David’s wedding stirred up quite a frenzy. The prodigal son of one of the wealthiest families, known for their bustling empire, has abandoned his lavish lifestyle as CEO of the company and retreated to a rented Victorian mansion. And he has found solace in a new profession that raises eyebrows among his elite social circle: writing thrillers. And his muse? None other than Chiara, a married woman who ignites a dangerous passion within him. Treadgold’s writing encompasses detailed sensory descriptions that bring her characters to life. She masterfully delves into the complex personalities and struggles of a large cast, weaving a tender and emotionally rich story. The characters, particularly, the lead cast, tired of their current lives, search for their sense of belonging. However, there are no easy answers in this intricately crafted tale. Jake stumbles and makes mistakes as he navigates through life, making him a realistic and compelling character. The slow-burning chemistry between Jake and Chiara is intense, adding depth to their relationship. The book ably examines the disconnect between actions, words, desires, and familial dynamics with sharp precision. The ending is wholly satisfying. The novel is expensive, deeply reflective, and especially good in its exploration of love, passion, family ties, and identity. A poignant story with sophisticated emotions. 

Paperback Book Details
  • 03/2024
  • 9798987736340
  • 272 pages
  • $15.99