A slow-burn romance with a lovely narration
Haley Cass is one of my go-to Sapphic authors since I’ve read her debut novel Those Who Wait, which was one of my favourite books of 2020. I was really looking forward to reading this novel but unfortunately, it coincided with one of the worst moments of my life. I found myself reading it while sitting at my dad’s death bed and, understandably, I wasn’t in the right headspace and DNF halfway through. Not the book’s fault. So I decided to wait for the audiobook and now that it’s out it was my time to finally immerse myself in the story.
Taylor Vandenberg left her home of Faircombe, Tennessee twenty-five years back to travel all around the world. Brooke Watson has lived in Faircombe all her life and as the current town manager is fully dedicated to her hometown. When both women cross paths unexpectedly, they acknowledge a mutual attraction but Taylor never stays in the same place for long and Brooke isn’t one for a casual relationship…
This is an opposites-attract, coming home romance set in a small town. Brooke and Taylor are the definition of opposites. While Brooke likes stability, predictability and her hometown life, Taylor prefers constant change and travel. Hardly a recipe to find common ground for a sustainable romance, but Ms. Cass manages to get a happily ever after but not without a good dose of angst and uncertainty along the way. As a result, this is a slow-burn romance, longer than an average book. It generally doesn’t feel long but it could have been cut a bit without neglecting the overall quality of the story.
Like in her previous work, Ms. Cass knows how to write chemistry between the main characters and Brooke and Taylor have it in spades. One of the best parts of this novel is the dialogues and banter. Taylor loves to wind Brooke up and Brooke falls for it every single time. It’s the main form of communication between them, Taylor’s jokes and Brooke’s complaints. It’s fantastic to see how slowly but surely, they learn how to communicate better and express their feelings.
Anastasia Watley is the narrator for this story and for me it was the right choice. If you have listened to her performance of The X Ingredient by Roslyn Sinclair, you know she produces a mellow southern accent which is ideal for these characters. Her pace is spot on and her performance of the very emotional moments in this novel is fantastic as usual. It improved my enjoyment of this story even more.
If you like slow-burn romances with very different main characters, then this one is for you. This isn’t my favourite book by this author but it’s still worth a read/listen. 4.5 stars.
Length: 16 hours, 23 minutes