Cammie Laroux is back in Alabama—again.
Dragged back to her small town to help her mother recover from surgery while rescuing the family event planning business should be a cinch. Even for a disgraced television chef, right? Wrong.
Among the many secrets Cammie’s family’s been hiding is the fact that their historic home is falling down. Oh, and the man hired to restore the house, Grey Harrison, is the same high school and college love of her life who thrashed her heart and dreams ten years ago. Yeah, that guy.
Grey, a widower with a young daughter, has never stopped loving Cammie, and when they are face to face once again, the chemistry is off the charts. Cammie may be in full-blown denial, but letting go is no longer in Grey’s vocabulary, even when winning Cammie’s forgiveness and renovating their love may seem like an impossible build even for a master architect and carpenter.
As Cammie finds herself forgetting all the reasons she can’t trust Grey or love again, he finds himself remembering all the reasons he wants her to stay with him in Alabama… forever.
Source: ARC from Tule Publishing via NetGalley
It’s funny, I often mention that Tule books could do with being a bit longer, giving the story time to stretch out a bit. This one is longer than the usual Tule offering and to be honest it could really have done with being shorter. Be careful what you grinch for, I guess. Not that this is a really long book, it just felt like it at times.
Two former high-school sweethearts, ripped apart by infidelity and manipulative machinations are given a second chance ten years on, after Cammie is guilt-tripped into coming back home following a disastrous career moment. There’s an awful lot of manipulation going on in this book, actually, and to be honest I couldn’t entirely blame Cammie for running away. Not just from the situation with Grey, but from her family. Sheesh, if I’d been Cammie I’d have ended this book with at least one less sister. And a visa for another country.
On the whole, though, it’s an okay read, cute and funny in places, with interestingly deeper moments. To be honest I could have done without Mother Maureen’s plot, mostly because I didn’t care, but also because it distracted me away from Grey and Cammie. I also feel that for a book of this length, some things were dealt with too swiftly or jumped to a quick conclusion that didn’t fit with the longer build up.
– Grey suddenly deciding now is the time to get Cammie back.
– Cammie deciding she needs to jump all over Grey now! Now!
– The whole bake-off situation. (That really let me down. I was ready for some great action there.)
– Samantha’s troubles.
– Cammie suddenly deciding she loves Samantha despite the fact they’ve spoken maybe three times, and it didn’t go well on any of them.
– The ending, specifically the glossed over epilogue.
Alongside these I had a few other issues with the book. We never did find out why Grey named his daughter the same name he and Cammie had already picked out. We never actually see Cammie and Samantha do any bonding. All the women Cammie meets, aside from those she’s related to, are nasty and manipulative (and even those she is related to have their moments), while the men are mostly hapless victims of their evil ways. I was also expecting something to come up that exonerated Grey for the whole Deb fiasco. I’m still waiting… Sure, the marriage was a torturous mess, but you made your bed, sweetheart, why am I supposed to care?
So overall this is an okay read. It’s a tale oft-told, with some fun characters and plenty of Southern set pieces. It didn’t blow me away, though, and at times the story drags itself out a lot longer than it needed before jumping the gun at important moments. I’m unlikely to read it again, but I am curious about the rest of the Laroux bunch – particularly Emma.
Again, Alabama is out June 12th!
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