Life down South just got a whole lot sweeter in Susan Schild’s new novel about a woman whose happily-ever-after is about to begin…whether she’s ready for it or not.
Finally, just shy of forty years old, Linny Taylor is living the life of her dreams in her charming hometown of Willow Hill, North Carolina. The past few years have been anything but a fairy tale: Left broke by her con man late-husband, Linny has struggled to rebuild her life from scratch. Then she met Jack Avery, the town’s much-adored veterinarian. And she’s marrying him.
Everything should be coming up roses for Linny. So why does she have such a serious case of pre-wedding jitters? It could be because Jack’s prosperous family doesn’t approve of her rough-and-tumble background. Or that his ex-wife is suddenly back on the scene. Or that Linny has yet to win over his son’s heart. All these obstacles—not to mention what she should wear when she walks down the aisle—are taking the joy out of planning her wedding. Linny better find a way to trust love again, or she might risk losing the one man she wants to be with—forever…
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balances conflict and concerns with laughter and heart as the characters drive the story forward.We
We first met Linny in her journey of tiny steps after tremendous loss. She’d returned home to Willow Hill to regroup and realign her own priorities. Taking another trip with Linny was a wonderful journey as she navigated her grief and anger from her two earlier marriages, and finally finds herself standing on stable ground.
Linny is a wonderful character: open hearted, warm and not prone to giving up, in many ways she carried that Scarlett O’Hara “tomorrow is a new day” attitude forward. Schild’s writing brings that flair so prevalent in southern fiction, a rather roundabout meander through the story in all the best ways. Linny is very much that southern woman: soft and malleable appearing on the outside with a core of steel beneath.
Enough time has passed, and the flirtations with Jack, the town vet are moving along nicely. She’s steadily moving forward to grab her desire for a more fulfilled life and future, and her impending marriage is the next logical step. But, it wouldn’t be her life if the unexpected didn’t arise and attempt to send her veering off course. Jack’s ex wife is omnipresent and intrusive, his son’s dismissive attitudes, and even his family’s displeasure at the ‘union’. Poor Linny, her style and grace should have her sailing through these issues, she’s not in the relationship for any of the ‘wrong’ reasons, but her history with her husbands, the constant worries cropping up and the general sense of unwelcome from Jack’s family have her less than an over the moon bride to be.
Full of everything that I’ve come to expect from Schild, this story balances conflict and concerns with laughter and heart as the characters drive the story forward. Following nicely after Linny’s Sweet Dream List, you can read this book on its own, but the information and familiarity with Linny and her struggles and growth from when we first meet her will enhance this read. What jumps out at readers is the truth in presentation of the story, Linny’s struggles with those little defeatist voices in her head, the issues exacerbated by her past, and her desire and sheer will to overcome the bumps in the road to grab at her chance for happiness again.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.