Susan Wiggs | July 2020 |368 pp
This was my first experience with Susan Wiggs and I’m happy to have discovered her books! Her writing is a touch reminiscent of Kristin Hannah, without the heaviness. Plus, this story revolves around a bookstore, Hello?! What could be better?!
Natalie Harper is living a bit of a dream, in love with a stable man, gaining accolades at work, when it all comes crashing down. In a freak accident she loses her mom and boyfriend and becomes owner and caretaker to the failing family bookstore and her aging grandfather that lives above it. Things aren’t going well. The bookstore is in debt, the building is in disrepair and pops is showing signs of mental and physical decline. He keeps losing track of time and rambling on about the past and long lost bookish treasure buried in the store. Natalie thinks her best option is to sell the building and cut and run. Pops doesn’t want to but, she sees no other way out. To that end, she hires sexy, but maybe emotionally unavailable, general contractor, Peach Gallagher to work on the place. Sparks fly between her and Peach but Peach is recovering from a tough divorce and custody battle with his ex and Natalie’s really not emotionally prepared to deal with her own shit and isn’t even sure she can afford his work. Peach has a young daughter that enjoys exploring the bookstore and for awhile, that rounds out her bubble. Then enters sexy, rich, and available author. Though she’s not looking for it, its nice to have someone around that can stroke a check and resolve your financial issues! Can Peach pull his shit together to sweep her off her feet? Does he even want to? Is sexy author guy worth the risk?
Pros: Setting is a BOOKSTORE. An old, independent one at that?! That alone drew me into the story. I enjoyed the side plot of them digging around in the old building and finding lost valuables from long ago. The tension between Peach and Natalie set the right tone and I liked watching the romance unfold between the two of them. I also enjoyed how the author addressed Natalie’s grief around the loss of her mother and boyfriend. Natalie was a fairly complex character going through a lot and the author diving in and helping us feel her emotions really added texture to the story.
Cons: Likely a tad predictable and the ending a bit neat but, it was still really worth reading it play out! Besides, I like my fictional romances neat. In real life they’re a catastrophe!
Overall, a surprisingly great, quick romance with a dose of mystery! I would lice to revisit Natalie in the future! I will definitely be reading more of this author. Goodbook #45!
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Storygraph Summary: Natalie Harper wants to sell the bookshop she’s inherited to pay for her grandfather’s care, but he refuses to acquiesce, so she decides to renovate instead. As she chats with the young daughter brought along by the contractor and delights in the artifacts discovered in the walls, Natalie’s life starts to light up again.