New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson returns with this dazzling love story filled with sizzle, sass, and just a bit of southern charm . . .
“Hello, Ms. Vivian . . . it’s been a long time.”
And with those words, Vivian Leigh Rochet nearly melted. It’s been years since she last saw Harrison Whitley-Shuler. She was a teenager scrubbing houses for a living. He was the gorgeous son of rich parents, not fit for the likes of her.
Vivian had vowed to get out of Charleston, become a big Hollywood star, and stick it to the snooty girls who made her cry.
She got what she wanted—and more—but why does her glamorous life seem so trivial?
Harrison got out too . . . making it all the way to Wall Street, until a heart attack forced him to trade in his cufflinks for a good set of hand tools.
Making furniture soothes his soul, but escaping the Whitley-Shuler heritage is nearly impossible. And now he’s come face-to-face with the one who got away. He’s not looking for love. He’s not even looking for sex . . . so why is resisting her the hardest thing he’s ever done?
It’s been a while since I’ve read a Rachel Gibson book, so I was really excited to have a chance to read this one. It does have a slow start…partly, I think because the “one who got away” aspect of the blurb isn’t really correct. If you go into this one thinking that Henry (the hero’s name in my ARC is Henry, so that’s the name I’m going to use here) has ever lusted, secretly or otherwise, after Vivien in the past, you may be a bit disappointed by the h/H interactions for the first quarter or so. This is probably a book you’re better off going into without preconceived notions.
Instead, just read the book. 🙂
It starts with a few of young Vivien’s (full name: Vivien Leigh Rochet–so Southern; love it!) diary entries, a device that I really enjoy in books and which is used for a nice effect throughout the novel. Since this is a return-home story as much as it is a enemies-to-lovers one, the entries are a fun way to bring us up to speed on her childhood without bogging us down in flashbacks. In the novel’s real time, she’s just come back home for her mother’s funeral. Since leaving North Carolina for Hollywood years ago, she’s come back as little as possible, so there’s quite a few things about her mother’s life in the interim (and earlier, for that matter) that she had no idea about–some which are going to come as quite a shock.
But the biggest shock of all just might be Henry Whitley-Schuler, who may or may not still be a scary butthead, but is most definitely much hotter than Vivien remembers.
This is going to be a problem. Or not be a problem, depending on your perspective. 😉
Their romance is a slow burn, and seems doomed to failure due to their history and the fact that she’s now a movie star and he’s dedicated himself to a low-stress life as a carpenter. Despite this, I loved the two of them together and really, really hoped Ms. Gibson would find a way.
Spoiler alert: she does 🙂
My only complaints? 1) The resolution happens very quickly. It felt pretty rushed, especially given how slow moving their relationship is for so much of the book. 2) How they’re ultimately going to make their seemingly incompatible lifestyles work isn’t really explained. 3) Not enough cute Vivien-and-Henry togetherness time (at least partly related to complaint #1).
Still, There was a lot to like in Ms Gibson’s latest book, and I very much enjoyed the time I spent reading it. I’m so glad she’s back!
Rating: 4 stars / B
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Meet the Author:
Four of her novels were named among the Top Ten Favorite Books of The Year by Romance Writers of America. Two of her novels, True Confessions and Not Another Bad Date, were awarded the RITA, Romance Writers of America’s highest honor of excellence. Some of Rachel’s other awards and achievements include The Golden Heart Award, the National Reader’s Choice, Amazon Editor’s Top Pick, Publisher Weekly’s Quill nominee, Borders bestselling romantic comedy and Romantic Time’s Career Achievement award.
When not writing, Rachel can be found shopping for shoes or looking for strange and unusual flowers to plant in her garden.
You can visit her website at http://rachelgibson.com
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