Now that the weather is starting to turn a bit warmer, I tend to pick up more contemporaries. Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle was actually on my Most Anticipated Releases of 2021 list last year, so massive thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy! (Also, randomly, every time I see this title I just start singing "Last Christmas", please tell me I'm not the only one.)
|Pub Date: 4-6-21|
Adult - Contemporary
Maybell Parrish has always lived with her heart on her sleeve. She's not one to rock the boat and is never one to make a scene. She much prefers to spend her time daydreaming about her make-believe café than cleaning up vomit in the hotel she's spent the majority of her adult life working at where she is vastly under-appreciated. Maybell has dreamt of striking out on her own, but the thought terrifies her. So when Maybell inherits her great-aunt Violet's manor house in the Smokies, she takes this as the universe telling her to finally take a chance.When Maybell was younger, she spent a glorious summer at Falling Stars with Violet and her husband. As a kid who spent most of her time couch-surfing with her mom, a place to call home and people to care for her was all Maybell could ever want. Maybell expects to find the safe house of her dreams, but what she gets is a nightmare. The manor house is falling apart and chock full of garbage, but the worst part? Maybell isn't even the sole inheritor, she has to share everything with the grumpy groundskeeper, Wesley Koehler. The pair butt heads immediately over their differing opinions on what the property should be turned into and refuse to compromise. That as well as a list of last wishes left behind by Violet lead to some tension that doesn't sit well with Maybell, the perpetual people pleaser. Determined to make this situation mutually beneficial, Maybell slowly starts to chip away at Wesley's frosty exterior and is pleasantly surprised to find a soft heart hiding behind all his scowls.
This is the book equivalent of a warm hug and made me feel all fuzzy inside. The characters were so easy to fall in love with and made this shine. Maybell is charming and a little quirky and Wesley is my favorite trope of a grumpy character who is secretly a sweetheart inside. I found myself relating to both of them in different ways which kept me invested in what was happening. You find they have an interesting sort of history together due to a terrible prank Maybell's friend pulled on her that I thought would've played more into the plot than it did, but it ended up being more of a footnote. There were other aspects that I thought would be more in the forefront as well, like the majority of turning the house into the hotel/animal sanctuary, but it almost felt like an afterthought. The little snippets we did get of them working on the house were cute, like with the mural they painted. Despite that, I was still fully invested in this and thought Hogle did a wonderful job creating a relationship that felt real and mature. If you prefer your contemporaries to be more romantic and less steamy, this is the one to pick up.