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September 17, 2019
Terri Rayburn has always lived in her family’s native small town of Summer Hill, Virginia. Though her mother left when she was very young, she and her father have kept the family’s summer resort afloat, acting as managers, cleaners, handymen, and general Houdini problem solvers. Though Terri once had dreams of leaving Summer Hill for a different life with her high school sweetheart, she’s accepted now that her place is with her father. Unfortunately, though, living on the poorer side of a cozy (and rich) resort town has its drawbacks, and the drama surrounding Terri’s mother’s disappearance so many years ago hasn’t helped Terri make many friends. She’s content, sure, but isolated.
So when gorgeous Nate Taggart randomly shows up at her house one day, Terri suspects her father and his friends are trying to set her up—even though Nate is engaged to the mayor’s beautiful daughter. No matter, she reasons. She can be friends with Nate (who just so happens to be perfect for her, sigh) without crossing over into scandal territory and further tarnishing her family’s reputation. But the real question is, can Nate?
This is the first novel I’ve read by wildly popular Jude Deveraux, and a part of me does understand what all the hype is about. This is an easily-digestible novel. It goes fast, and it’s heavy on the playful will-they-won’t-they sexual tension. But it definitely has some drawbacks. Most notably, there is almost no build up in the story. The reader just jumps right in to the thick of it, with Terri and Nate meeting each other almost at the same time the reader meets them. Backstory isn’t provided until much later, and by then the book (and my attachment to it) had already suffered.
The other big negative is the ending. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that the story starts out all light and fluffy and ends with, yikes, a pretty significant crime. It comes out of nowhere and changes the entire tone of the book. It’s a surprising twist, sure, but it also felt careless and inconsistent with the rest of the book.
So this is one of those light reads that you take with you on a plane and then leave at your hotel for the next person. It’s absorbing, but also hastily thrown together and forgettable.
Thank you to MIRA and Net Galley for the ARC!