We take a break from reviewing books I read months ago to review one that I read much more recently, and, as it was a gift from the publisher in exchange for a review, is being bumped to the front of the reviewing line!!
Workaholic Dawn gets jilted by her fiancee just before the wedding, and goes on the already-paid-for-honeymoon with her mom instead of her husband. Dawn and her mom have always had a slightly rocky relationship because Marnie tends to be spontaneous and free-spirited vs Dawn’s obsessive Type-A planning tendencies. Widowed almost a year, Marnie has also had a recent bout of breast cancer that has left her more shaken than she likes to admit. Marnie falls in love with the small town on the Cape where she and Dawn are “honeymooning“ and spontaneously purchases a rundown ice cream parlor, determined to follow her husband’s dream of owning one. Dawn, of course, sees only the problems and setbacks, and ends up staying to “fix“ her mom’s situation.
There was a lot about this book that I really enjoyed. Although it has a romcom vibe to it, it’s way more about Dawn and her mom. The love interest is more of a background thing. I kind of wish that it had either been nonexistent or a little more out there, though, because since the story focuses so much on Dawn and Marnie, it left me feeling like Dawn was the only person who had things to “fix” in her relationship with Kevin, since we only hear about the things that she is learning/ways she is growing, nothing about what is going on with him and what’s in his head.
However, I really enjoyed Marnie a lot. She felt like a believable older (comparatively) character. I appreciated the honest way she was trying to mesh her faith with her cancer and how difficult it was for her to move forward. There were times that her ditziness did annoy me, but overall I was really rooting for her and her new life.
I got more annoyed with Dawn, who kept wanting to micromanage every detail of her mom’s life, acting like her mom, a full-grown, adult woman, was incapable of making decisions or living her own life. I got that Dawn was coming from a place of love and wanting her mom to be safe and secure, but her condescending attitude did get on my nerves a lot. Maybe it’s because I’m a lot more like Dawn and have had to work hard (and am still working hard) to be accepting of the fact that not everyone works off of lists, schedules, and budgets!
The only other thing that really low-key bugged me? Marnie and Dawn are only two hours away from home, yet never go back to just… get a change of clothes?? They came only planning to stay week, decide to stay for months, but never go back to get any extra supplies?? This seemed so ridiculous to me that it was hard to get past sometimes!
I did like the Christian/faith part of this story. Lately, I’ve been a bit surprised to receive books from Revell that don’t even mention Christianity, so it was a nice change of pace to have characters whose faith was an integral part of their character. It was good to see Dawn slowly coming back to her roots, and to see Marnie coming to peace with the difficult parts of her life through the lens of her beliefs. There is another character as well who I really liked, his maturity and insight was always thoughtful and kind, never pushy or condescending.
While the business aspect of this entire venture seemed wildly impractical, the characters were likable and I was totally rooting for their success. I really liked both Marnie and Dawn and felt like their relationship was realistic. I think this book could have used a little more romance or no romance, though, because that part just kind of felt obligatory – I think this book would have read better focused completely on Marnie and Dawn as they both overcome their grief from the unexpected death of Dawn’s dad. Still, a relaxing read and I definitely see myself picking up book two!!