I saw this was a small southern town romance between best friends to lovers and I eagerly picked it up to read. Fair warning, the romance is only part of the story. It engages many of the characters in the small town with their little side stories and it also is the story of a woman coming back to life after over a decade of just going through the motions. I found it an absolute joy through both the painful moments and the happy ones to spend time with the people of Blessings, Georgia.
LilyAnn had it all going for her by the time she finished high school when it came to local achievements. She made head cheerleader, class valedictorian, girlfriend of the most popular guy and then crowned it by winning the Peachy Keen Queen. Then her fiancé enlisted and was killed in Afghanistan and she let herself slide through life for eleven years. Her dad died, her mom remarried and moved away, but she had her job at the pharmacy and her best friend Michael next door.
It’s not until a hot guy in a hot rod truck blows into town that LilyAnn wakes up and decides a change is in order. She works on her weight, changes her hair style and rejoins the land of the living.
Michael Dalton has been in love with Lily since high school. He watched quietly as she leaped into the arms of another man and then stayed quietly beside her when all that ended, but she never turned to him. He has waited and hoped and now it’s all happening again. Another guy has come along to turn her head and she has come to life again. He loves her and will always love her, but he now knows its time to do his best to let her go.
Ruby, down at the Curl Up and Dye, has watched these two for years and knows that Mike and Lily have made a mess of it. It’s time she stepped in and got them nudged in the right direction.
The book has a nice pace that reflects the slower life of a small town. The author did a great job with all the small town characters and their goings on off to the side. The beauty shop is the focal point of the story as the place where people gathered, talked, and life events were planned. There is a dark note in the story that makes for an exciting moment near the end when it plays out.
I would like to give a warning that those who are sensitive to rape to have a care as it has a place in this story.
The romance was the frustrating kind that was also sweet too. These two truly know all the details of each other’s lives down to what they like to eat and watch on TV. They are regular companions and it’s that whole take for granted what’s always been there thing when it comes to LilyAnn. Mike is no alpha male; he’s a beta hero. He’s strong and brave when he needs to be, but he is not one to put himself forward. He’s good looking and has done well catching the eye of every woman, but the one he wants. I don’t mind beta heroes, but I have to admit that I was irritated with him for waiting so doggone long to make his move. I was actually sort of pleased when he saw the other guy as a threat because it lit a fire under him finally. He acted angry and was snarky with Lily, but he had a decided lack of communication skills so she didn’t even know what got him acting all mad and hurt. I felt sorry for her a bit. Now to be fair, she was living in a trance so to speak and he could have paraded an eighty-eight member band past her holding a sign announcing his feelings and she probably wouldn’t have noticed, but he just sat back and waited for things to change instead of proactively trying to change things. But for all my frustration with their mutual obliviousness; I still enjoyed their romance.
All in all, I enjoyed my first taste of Sharon Sala’s writing and this new series. I can recommend it to those who enjoy small town romances with loveable quirky characters.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and Net Galley for the opportunity read this book in exchange for an honest review.