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New Release Review! THE GOOD LUCK CAFE by Annie Rains (Somerset Lake #4)

The Good Luck Cafe cover

Moira Green is perfectly content with her life. She has a rewarding career and plenty of wonderful friends, including the members of her weekly book club. Then everything in her life goes topsy-turvy when the town council plans to demolish the site of her mother’s beloved café to make room for much-needed parking. Moira is determined to save her mother’s business, so she swallows her pride and asks Gil Ryan for help.

Moira and Somerset Lake’s mayor were good friends once, the kind who could laugh at everything and nothing at all. Until one night changed everything between them. And now, with Gil supporting the council’s plans, Moira is forced to find another way to save Sweetie’s—and it involves campaigning against Gil. Going head-to-head in a battle of wills reveals more than either of them are ready for, and as the election heats up, so does their attraction. But without a compromise in sight, can these two be headed for anything but disaster?

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The Good Luck Cafe is a sweet, just bordering on saccharine antagonists-to-BF/GF romance. (Can it be a “to lovers” story if all they do is kiss and hold hands?) It is the 4th book in the author’s Somerset Lake series, but it does work fine as a standalone. Honestly, having read the other books would probably help in keeping track of who all of the secondary characters are–I was constantly wondering who he/she was and who was he/she with again? but not enough that it detracted from my enjoyment of Gil and Moira’s story.

This one was a perfectly pleasant read, but it’s probably not one I’m going to remember much of in a week or so. Moira is a lovely character, if a bit inconsistent–she loves her job, but also commits some pretty major no-nos while doing it; she decides to jump into a few new causes during the course of the book but then drops them just as easily without putting in much of an effort; and she’s not ready for a dog–except yes, she is?

Gil is absolutely lovely–his commitment to being mayor is solid, his relationship with his brother gives all the feels, and the way he’s been half in love with Moira just short of forever made my teeth ache. (That part was kind of frustrating too–why hadn’t he made more of an effort in that arena in all the years they lived in the same town? He really wasn’t a wishy-washy character otherwise…)

I wasn’t totally on board with the realism of the antagonism between her and Gil at the beginning–it’s been going on for years but is resolved with a single conversation between them. I really felt like this would work much better if one of the characters had left their hometown years earlier and just came back at the beginning of the book. Why hadn’t they ever had that conversation before? Yes, she worked from home and tried her best to avoid him around their tiny town, but her BFFs are all involved with his BFFs and they both get their morning coffee from the same cafe, so…?

Overall, a cute romance that will likely appeal to those who love for their small town romances to be sweet with a side of civic duty.

Rating: 3 stars / B-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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