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Didn’t Like the First Part; Second Part Much Better
Millie is just hoping for some time away to write her first, what she calls, serious book–one that her father would respect. She is actually a best selling romance writer, and her father sees such books as trash. What she hopes will be quiet times to inspire her muse turns out to be quite loud because of her next-door neighbor’s penchant for loud music as he runs his glass-blowing business. They butt heads for a while, but as they get to know each other, their attraction grows. They both have inner demons that they wrestle with. Which will triumph, inner demons or love?
As a sometime writer myself, I enjoyed all of the author-ly bits in this book. (I loved the discussion on romance covers!) I am actually quite familiar with this part of coastal California as I lived for ten years north of the story setting in Fort Bragg. Having been a foggybottom in a tourist town, I was a bit put off by the way the author portrayed life in a small coastal village. In our city, we didn’t treat tourists like the author has Drake and some of the others treat Millie (and as they refer to having done to other tourists). The book definitely had some formatting issues (words ran together) and errors with grammar and punctuation (comma splices aplenty).
I also thought that Drake just acted so rude for the first part of the book–so selfish and unrelenting–that I almost stopped reading because I couldn’t get past his attitude and see him as a potential hero. However, I’m glad I stuck with it, as he does have a stream of revelations as he wrestles with his demons that made him reevaluate himself, making him more interesting and allowing me to stick with the story. As the characters got to know each other, the extent of their personal issues (their backstories and how they were impacting them in the present) became apparent gradually, and this was actually masterfully done by the writer. By the end, I was wholly invested in the characters and cared about what happened to them. Drake’s gift at the end was lovely and heartwarming; while it didn’t end the book, it was probably the most satisfying part of the end; the symbolism and the beauty of his words was a delight. There are several heartrending and poignant moments in this book as well as some humor; I like a book that can have both. I thought their first sex scene was perfectly done because it was so true to these characters as they had been developed. The road to romance is rocky for so many reasons, and after being put off by the first part, I was completely pulled into their evolving relationship because of the depth of the characters and the emotional honesty of their portrayal. That is rare to see in a romance book.