I received a copy of this book for review. This does not impact the content of my review.
From New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown comes a funny heartache of a novel about overcoming the past, confronting the future, and defying all expectations.
Everyone is talking about Jennie Sue Baker and the mess she made of her life in New York. The former high school queen bee—and wealthy darling of Bloom, Texas—has returned home after all these years, riding on a common bus and bearing two bounced alimony checks. In a town that thrives on gossip, Jennie’s fall from grace has shamed her mother, set the town buzzing, and caused old, jealous enemies to whisper in delight. They say she’s taken a job as a housekeeper, gotten a garage apartment, and might be crushing on Rick Lawson, a simple farmer with modest dreams.
As romance starts to bud, Jennie relishes what it means to follow her heart, find real new friends, and finally be herself—regardless of all the lying town chatter. But fate has another twist in store. Rumor has it that Jennie now stands to lose what matters most…unless she can convince Rick of one true thing—and that’s love. (Goodreads)
My rating: 2 stars
I liked parts…but not all.
I wanted to love this book. But… there were just too many moments where I was pulled out of the story.
A sweet story of personal development, healing and new relationships.
The romance in this book is sweet. Jennie Sue and Rick seem to go together fairly well. It was fun to read how their relationship developed from barely knowing each other, to the sparks from eye contact and the thrill of an innocent touch or kind comment to a full-on relationship.
Even more than the romance though, I liked Jennie Sue’s discovery of what real friendship is, of her own strengths, and her journey to be her own person instead of the woman that her parents had forced her to be.
There are a lot of interesting characters. I loved the portrayal of multi-generational friendships, the generosity of small town folks, and the unique relationship between elderly spinster sisters.
It could have used another few rounds of editing.
Unfortunately, I was often pulled out of the story by awkward dialogue and inconsistencies in the action.
While I realize that the story takes place in Texas and I’ve never been there so don’t have a great grasp on what folks from there speak like, the number of times where the dialogue felt stilted to me (characters almost always used full phrases instead of contractions and added the word ‘that’ to sentences where it was not necessary) or responded far too eloquently in stressful situations, just pulled me out of the story. Also, some of the conversations just felt too straightforward, unrealistic and out of character to me.
Add to that the number of times I noted inconsistencies in the action – things like she refilled her cup of hot chocolate after she had said no to the offer of hot chocolate and thus didn’t have a cup to refill – jarred me and frustrated my editor’s heart.
All in all, I liked parts of the book but not all of it. On the scale I’ve been using, that’s two stars. That does not mean this isn’t a fun story and a pleasant read. It just means the writing style is just not for me.