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New Release Review! THE BACKUP PLAN by Jill Shalvis (Sunrise Cove #3)

The Backup Plan cover

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Sunrise Cove with a heartwarming tale of three people who are bought together when they’re bequeathed an old Wild West inn that has the potential to pull their lives apart, but instead turns into the gift of a lifetime.

When Alice receives a call about an unexpected windfall, she’s stunned to learn the gift is a falling-apart-at-the-seams old Wild West B&B she once considered home—and she’s inherited it along with two strangers. Except they weren’t always strangers. Once upon a time, they were friends. One is her ex-BFF Lauren. The other is Knox, the only guy to ever break her heart, all while never even knowing she existed.

It turns out their lives are unknowingly entangled because they once separately helped the same woman without expecting anything in return. Years later, Alice, Lauren, and Knox are broken in their own way, with their own history—and secrets— causing them to start out on the wrong foot with each other. But according to the will, they must renovate and be partners in the inn for one year or else lose their inheritance.

Stuck together, they make a list of rules to keep the peace—rules that end up doing the opposite, but by some miracle they find what they didn’t even know they were looking for—acceptance, true friendship, and in a case (or two!), true love.

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Another heartwarming story of rekindled friendships and found families from Jill Shalvis!

When Alice, Lauren, and Knox each inherit a third of the rundown B&B the Lauren’s estranged great aunt owned and at which Alice and Knox worked once upon a time, they grudgingly agree to work together just long enough to get it back in operational shape. What follows is a trademark Shalvis novel: quirky characters, genuine relationships, fun banter, stellar junk food appreciation, and of course, at least one steamy romance. Like the author’s other recent books, this one is definitely more in the vein of “women’s fiction” than contemporary romance.

Though the story is told fairly equally from the POVs of the three main characters, it somehow felt like we get to know Alice and Lauren a bit more fully than we do Knox. Don’t get me wrong, I loved him just as much as I did the girls, but it didn’t seem like we quite got to understand as much of his life before as we did with Lauren and Alice. Maybe this is because the two of them had more of a shared history? The bulk of the chapters started out with either some of the trio’s shared lists (“to do,” “need,” and “the ground rules”), which were a lot of fun, or unsent emails from the deceased woman’s iPad, which worked for exposition but sometimes felt a bit clunky. Still, they did their job to keep Eleanor’s spirit alive for the characters and the reader.

My only real complaint is that I would have liked to have seen more of Lauren and her new beau on the page. Though overall I do enjoy the direction Ms Shalvis has taken her writing, her focus is definitely more on relationships and less on the romance, and I do rather miss her straight up contemporary romances.

Like the other titles in the series, The Backup Plan works as a standalone, as geography is really the only thing that links the series books. That said, they’re all the best kinds of comfort reads, so I’d recommend reading them all 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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