Grace Wheeler is stuck. She has the perfect life; job, home, fulfillment. But filial duty calls; she is needed by her orphaned niece and her foster mother, who is showing signs of dementia. The obvious thing to do would be to take them back to the city and resume life as usual, but with adjustments; however, she can’t do that because a sense of place—Dove Pond, North Carolina, where she has always lived–is what ties Mama G to what’s left of her real world. Also, there’s a house they can have there. When Grace proclaims loudly and often that she’s only staying for a year, we know right away that she will fall in love with Dove Pond and stay forever.
I like the cousin who owns the house that Grace, Mama G, and niece Daisy will live in, but she is with us for just a short time before she hops in her RV and drives away. Mentally I am standing on the curb shouting, “Come back! Come back!”
I read this book free and early thanks to Net Galley and Gallery Books. I read the first thirty percent, skimmed, and then read the last twenty-five percent.
Sarah Dove is the town librarian as well as a book whisperer. Books speak to her—literally—and they have decided they like the looks of Grace. Sarah is lonely, and when the books speak, she listens, and she pesters Grace relentlessly as she tries to befriend her. Ultimately it is the Trojan Horse in the form of Daisy that creates the connection Sarah desires. Daisy is going through a rough time and is grieving and acting out; she and Sarah bond over Little Women. (Insert eye roll here.) However difficult she may be, Daisy is actually quite clever, gifted even.
Ohhh goody. My eyes roll again. Fictional children are always so precocious, aren’t they?
Grace’s new next door neighbor, the bad boy on a motorcycle, as well as Sarah’s old flame, who’s come back around, create romantic side stories whose paths are clear from the get-go.
So here’s the thing. I confess that the cozy genre is not my main literary lane. Usually when I find a cozy series that works for me, other cozy reviewers just hate it because it’s too edgy. This story will make a lot of cozy readers very happy. It’s wholesome and has a soothing tone; the narrative voice is charming. I know there is an audience that will eat this up, and when I step away from this cozy banquet, I won’t be missed.
But for me, the story feels formulaic. If I can tell how the main story thread will go, and how some of the side business will turn out, by the ten percent mark, I’m not a fan. The one place I really connect is when the bad boy on the motorcycle gets his hair cut, and I am so sad, because I liked this character and now he’s ruined for me.
So for those of you that want a soothing, wholesome feel-good story you can read in a weekend, maybe this book is for you. If you aren’t sure, consider reading it free or cheap.
It’s for sale today.