Author: Sarah Hogle
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (April 26, 2021)
Paperback, 320 pages
Romance, Adult Contemporary Romance
Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.
Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous–and it turns out he has very different vision for the property’s future.
Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.
This book is just so… stinkin’… CUTE. It got off to a really slow start for me, but by about the halfway mark it really picked up and I ended up liking it really well. I just wish that all the quirky weirdness of our two leads had come out sooner and not been bottled up for *quite* so long, because once they start opening up to one another it’s truly lovely. I get that we’re meant to get a bit of an enemies to lovers/antagonism trope going, but it went on for a bit too long with no sparks for me and I almost DNF’d and that would have been A VERY BIG SHAME. BECAUSE WESLEY IS A TREASURE AND I WANT TO KEEP HIM IN MY POCKET.
*clears throat* Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. This book has some very excellent mental illness/anxiety rep in it. and I VERY MUCH appreciate (and also may have cried) at some of it.
“Are you all right? And before you answer, just know that you don’t have to say yes.”
Excuse me, I need to go cry for a while…. Okay, I’m back. At the same time, there was a slight maybe-sort-of element of love-cures-everything in here that made me a small amount of cringe – I really can’t say more than that because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I wish the author had decided to make a different choice with the plot than she did, because I feel like it would have been okay to go the other direction and NOT have the love-is-stronger-than-my-anxiety BS in there. It… okay, it made me kind of mad. BUT, there are a lot of truly beautiful moments in this book. It’s like a warm hug from your grandma, all soft, crepe-y cheeks, warm scratchy sweaters and lavender perfume; cotton candy clouds and a cold fountain soda and the smell of fresh-baked cinnamon donuts; dabs of fresh paint and handmade Christmas ornaments and a half-finished sketch of your favorite person. That’s it, that’s the book.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.