Can you find real love when you’ve always got your head in the clouds?
Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.
Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous–and it turns out he has a very different vision for the property’s future.
Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.
Title : Twice Shy
Author : Sarah Hogle
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Piatkus
Release Date : April 6, 2021 /March 2, 2022
Reviewer : Hollis /Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★.5
Hollis’ 4 star review
Few things are as satisfying as the moment the title of the story or the cover plays out on page of the book you are reading. In this case, it was the cover more than the title and.. looking at it now with context? My heart.
Which is basically an apt description for this whole read. My. Heart. Twice Shy is pure sweetness, pure wonder and whimsy, and slow-melting gooey delight.
I think he’s under a curse — if he laughs, he’ll die. This is a sensible explanation to me. It isn’t that I’m not a joy to be around, it’s that he’ll literally die.
There’s a gentle edge of melancholy to the story because what brings these characters together is the passing of someone they had both loved and both felt possessive of in different ways. Together they have to come together to decide what is to be done with the inheritance they’ve been left, in the form of property now resembling something of a ruin (with extra fun inside!), and naturally there is friction not only in personality but also intent. And yes, incase you weren’t aware, this is a grumpy/sunshine pairing but the layers as to the why of their assigned archetype is just something else.
“I get it. You’re Mr. Reality Man and you have no tolerance for good vibes or whimsy, but you know, dude, you’re really starting to bum me out.”
“Mr. Reality Man? WHat kind of superhero lottery did I lose?“
I flew through this book, unable to put it down, but while I found You Deserve Each Other to be more compelling — because of the sharp biting contention, and how far that couple had strayed, making their journey more of.. well, a journey, back to each other — instead I found this one to be less of a hold-on-for-dear-life ride over the waterfalls and instead just let myself be leisurely caried along down the river. It is a less intense read but while the ups and downs were gentler it was still very moving. The last 30% in particular was the definition of lovely. And I think, as I also said with about her debut, this is a good I’m going to love even more on a reread when I’m able to eagle eye so many little things I might not have picked up on without the benefit of hindsight.
At what point did my happy place stop being a dream and start being the person in front of me?
With two books under her belt, Hogle is offering something for all readers but also satisfying those who love romance no matter the specific tropes (or who love all tropes; and there’s a great homage to them all snuck into the narrative, too!). I cannot wait to see where she’ll go for her next release. If she wasn’t an auto-read after her debut, she sure is now.
If you haven’t yet read this author, I highly recommend you do so.
** I received an ARC from Edelweiss+ and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Micky’s 3.5 star review
Quirky hate to more
Mental illness representation
This quirky story was heart-stealing and unusual all in one. It started out one way with Maybell in a dead end job, walked over repeatedly and recently catfished by a ‘friend’. She read like a pushover but she was so much more than that. Cue inheritance from a loved but distant aunt (this is all in the blurb) and Maybell found herself owner of a neglected and run down manor.
Wesley was her foe from the start at this manor and they fought, competed against one another and generally tried to wind one another up. It was a semi-War of the Roses and yet…there were small acts of kindness and things behind the scenes.
These two had a strange and lovely journey to not being enemies. This story was hella quirky and not always the kind of ease to read I expected but I went with the flow and got my rewards.
There was a great story within a story of Wesley’s mental ill health. I appreciated that it was the male character with these issues as I find so often it is the female in straight contemporary romance. I found it all a credible depiction but for the end wrap up. Overall, this brought bonus points to the story.
This was a solid second book from Sarah Hogle and I’m definitely keen to read her next.
Thank you to Piatkus for the review copy.