I received an E-arc from Netgalley and the publisher for an exchange of an honest review.
Author: Jackie Fraser
Date: September 26, 2023
After escaping a bad relationship, Jess Cavendish is running and leaving it all behind, carrying just a few treasured belongings in her knapsack. She needs to start over, but that means sleeping where she can and making the most of her slim savings. Luckily, she comes across a recently sold, unoccupied house. It couldn’t hurt to stay there while she saves up enough to get her own place, right?
Gethin Thomas is also looking to move on after the end of a long-term relationship. He’s returned to his hometown, anxious to renovate the fixer-upper he bought and move out of his sister’s cramped guest room. When he walks through the door one morning, he finds Jess, who’s ready to run again, and surprises them both by offering to let her stay. It feels like the right thing to do, but Jess doesn’t want a handout. They strike a bargain: Jess will help with the restoration, furnishing, and decorating in exchange for room and board.
While they peel wallpaper and shop for new furniture, an unexpected friendship develops as they bond over music and food, and slowly open up to each other about their pasts. When it’s time for Gethin to move in, he convinces Jess to be his official housemate and she agrees—so long as he lets her pay rent. The connection between them soon shifts to an attraction that seems both inevitable and overwhelming, and Jess must decide what she wants. With so much hurt in her past, can she risk loving again? She was brave enough to reach for a new life—and now a future she hadn’t even dreamed possible could be just within her grasp.
This was written beautifully with real characters who are going through so many things emotionally. I loved Gethin and Jess connect on different levels. They were strangers, then friends, then perhaps something more? It’s a different vibe on what a love story is.
I loved how the emotional hurdles that Gethin and Jess go through. Gethin dealing with his ex and all the drama. Jess dealing with emotional baggage from many things. They both listened to each other and got along really well. I got the feeling Gethin and Jess were a bit older. I would estimate maybe in their late 30s and early 40s? It’s a different change of pace than younger folk.
Designing a house together was pretty neat to see. I don’t think I could do that. I loved how Jess had an eye for designing. I was hoping she would get a business started and Gethin would help her?
I would recommend this book if you are looking for a heartwarming contemporary romance fiction. It is different and I think you have to have patience with this book since it’s a bit heavy on the pace and learning how to cope.
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