He is tall, broad shouldered, strong jawed. Dark blond hair falls in short, tousled waves that make me think of a fallen angel who almost drowned, thrust out of the sea by Poseidon and made alive again with a lightning strike, His eyes are brown topaz, a glass of root beer held up to the light, widening as he fixates on my face. Every thought that’s ever swept into my head in the thirty years I’ve been alive blows away. There is dust in my throat, my eyes, my ears.
Maybell Parrish is a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. She loves living in her Alternate Universe (AU), where her donuts are world-famous, and her ruggedly good-looking customer Jack always shows up at the perfect moment to sweep her off her feet. Maybell’s real life isn’t quite as romantic or charming as she would like it to be, so when she finds out she has inherited her Great Aunt Violet’s beautiful house, she jumps on the opportunity to make a fresh start.
Her fresh start doesn’t get off on the right foot. The house is a mess, and Maybell learns she isn’t the only inheritor of the house. She will have to split her inheritance with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper of the property. In a weird twist of fate, Wesley looks precisely like Jack from Maybell’s AU, but he isn’t the charming man of her dreams. Maybell’s first impression of Welsey is that he is a prickly, grumpy man set on making her life miserable so he can have the house. Maybell finds herself trying to convince Welsey that sharing the house is in the best interest of both parties. As the two start to work together, she realizes there is a softer, sweeter side to Welsey and that if they are both willing to step outside their comfort zone, they will learn life is full of incredible surprises.
Susan Hogle really created a rom-com masterpiece with this book. It was just so darn good, and I ended up staying up to the wee hours of the morning to finish it (Thank the good Lord that coffee exists). I just love everything about this book, from the cute bright cover to the endearing and delightful characters, to a charming and captivating story. I literally couldn’t stop smiling while reading this book and was sad that we were in lockdown because it meant I couldn’t go out and tell the world that they need to read this book. FYI, when I am out of the house I tend to give out a lot of book recommendations: think pushy grandma who always tells you to eat more. I’m like that but instead I’m telling people they need to read a particular book.
The story is full of sweet moments between Maybell and Welsey. Welsey does turn out to be one of the sweetest, most caring men I have ever read in a rom-com book, which I wasn’t expecting. I have to say that Maybell’s internal dialogue often has me cracking up, especially when she realizes she has feelings for Welsey and was set on ignoring those feelings. I also loved Maybell’s AU and could totally relate to how easy it is to slip into a daydream. I do it all the time, my AU is my cute bookshop I run in a small tourist town, and the man of my dreams (Henry Cavill) always walks in looking for a book. A girl can dream!
As a fan of home make-over shows, the parts of the story where Maybell and Welsey were cleaning and discussing their dreams for the old house were right up my alley, and I could visualize their plans in my head. Oh, did I also mention there is a cute romantic treasure hunt in this book!
This book is two love stories: the one between Maybell and Welsey (present) and the other between Violet and Victor (past). I just loved how Susan weaved the two love stories together; readers got to learn about Violet and Victor’s relationship through found letters, treasure hunts, and memories. I thought it was such an incredible addition to the story.
If you are looking for a story that will capture your heart, imagination, and inner home improvement geek, this book is the perfect match for you.