First Published: 2017
I received an arc from NetgGlley in exchange for my honest review!
Re-Readability:If you're looking for a simply sweet romantic story about love and loss and love again, this one is for you. Cassie Mae is a master at crafting lovely love stories that can warm your heart and make you smile, without having to relay on drama to carry the story along.
In this heartfelt romance from the author of the All About Love series, two people who thought they’d given up on passion turn to each other for emotional support—and maybe something a little more physical.
Kennedy Walters has had a tough year. Now she’s come to the lakeside town of Lyra Valley to finally say goodbye to the memory of her first love. But while she’s staying at his sister’s B&B, Kennedy is shocked to find herself undeniably drawn to a handsome local heartthrob—especially since she isn’t sure if she’s ready to move on.
Aaron Sheppard returned to Lyra Valley because he was fed up with the big city and everything it didn’t have to offer—like the beautiful, down-to-earth girl staying at the B&B. Aaron’s enjoying a little flirtation until he realizes that she’s Kennedy Walters, the girl who was dating his best friend. But after a power outage strands them together, Aaron and Kennedy wind up sharing some intimate conversation. And over the course of a night that neither will ever forget, they learn just how compatible they could be—if only they knew how to let go and fall into each other’s arms.
In this one, she delves into the realities of prematurely losing a loved one and coming to terms with the fact that you are allowed to feel joy and love again. That moving on does not mean forgetting, nor does it negates the love you felt for that person.
And she shows this dilemma, this inner conflict very well through both our heroine and our hero.
Sweet, gentle Kennedy has just lost Jared a year ago, but his death feels as fresh today as it felt the day he passed and the silence that accompanies her whenever she attempts to talk to him a stark reminder of her loneliness.
Quiet, thoughtful Aaron has lost Jared years before his actual passing, but his pain--and guilt-- is just as strong as Kennedy's, if not stronger. His fallout with Jared and his inability to breach the gap before his passing haunts him. Their lost friendship and the lost chances were heartbreaking to read off.
These two people, haunted by the same person, meet at his hometown and in a course of a week come together, find solace and a sense of peace within each other. But they shouldn't, should they? Not with Jared's ghost hanging around them.
Cassie Mae does a really good job in making you forget these people only know each other for a week because she spends so much time letting us sink into their conversations and their meet ups. She deftly crafts this relationship, this falling in love, through conversations and looks and smiles, that make you feel as if it has been much longer. When the characters themselves wonder at the short while they've known each other, I was shocked to realize it hadn't been months.
That being said, I didn't connect to this one as much as I normally do with Mae's stories, because of my personal belief system and by no fault of this novel, because I truly believe this novel will connect to and move many a heart.
But while I definitely bought Aaron and Kennedy's romance, I didn't buy quite as easily their healing process. I felt like these people have hurt for so long, and their love for Jared was so alive, that their actual healing came much too fast for me. On a personal level, this is something I don't believe. I think it's a much longer process, and I always struggle with love being shown as this magic cure.
But this is, again, such a personal matter, and I highly recommend reading this novel or any other novel by Mae (Reasons I Fell For the Funny Fat Friend and Doing It For Love my current faves) to experience the joy her writings can bring.