Sorry to say that this bored me – from start to finish. I typically love HH’s books and jumped at the chance to read this series starter, but if I didn’t know that it was written by her, I wouldn’t have known. And I would’ve DNF’d it without hesitation. Unfortunately, this has a VERY laidback, small town feel that doesn’t really focus on the romance. It gets distracted by so many different side characters, non-essential interactions, and family drama. There are actually very, very few scenes between our couple in the first half, and then they just felt like friends with benefits after that. While this is technically well written, I was so bored that I didn’t really care about anything that was happening – and at a certain point, I was reading more to get a peek at characters from future books. And I don’t like many of them either. That’s not ideal. There’s nothing terribly “wrong” with this book, it’s just not compelling.
The story follows Dillion and Van, two people who have returned (temporarily) to the small town they once called home. Dillion has come home to help her family, and catching up with former friends has made old memories come rushing back. She never planned to stay in her small town, and doesn’t now either. When Dillion officially meets her neighbor, Van, their interactions never seem to go as planned. Van is staying in his grandmother’s home and dealing with his own issues. As the two get to know each other better, they discover that they might have more in common than expected, and their futures could look very different than anticipated.
I’ll say this: HH does a great job of making this feel like a small town romance, even if some things rubbed me the wrong way. It’s a slower-paced, family-focused kind of read, as much about rediscovering yourself as anything else. It’s also very stereotypical, with few surprises and a lot of tired tropes. I can’t say that I love the representation of small towns or the people who live in them, nor did I particularly like ANY of the characters (the cheating ex, the sleazy brother, the sister who slips pills into drinks). Van had a lot of potential, but he never lived up to it. Dillion never won me over, and the romance wasn’t prominent enough for me to like them together. If the rest of the series is the same way, then I probably won’t stick around past the next book. We shall see – this was definitely disappointing. I received an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this small town romance.
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting comes an evocative small-town romance about family loyalty, finding oneself, and falling in love.
When Dillion Stitch left her hometown, she had no intention of going back. But when her brother gets into trouble, Dillion reluctantly agrees to return home to take her place at the family business.
Being back in Pearl Lake after all these years feels familiar but also brings a few surprises. She’s quick to notice that someone new has shown up at the cottage next door. Dillion gets more than an eyeful when she goes to check out the newcomer and meets Donovan “Van” Firestone—her beloved neighbor’s grandson—in all his unclothed glory.
Having gotten off to a rocky start, it’s not long before they begin bickering with each other all over town. All that back-and-forth inevitably sparks an undeniable attraction. But Dillion’s family has issues, Van’s family resents him, and neither Dillion nor Van feels truly at ease in the small town. For these Pearl Lake exiles, home isn’t just where the heart is—it’s where things get complicated.
About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.
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