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.
I was looking forward to this book. I had really enjoyed You Deserve Each Other, with it’s hilarious humor and fantastic MC, so I was pumped to see what Hogle’s next book would be like! Then I found out that it would have a dreamer MC and a love interest with social anxiety and I became incredibly eager to read the book. Plus, the plot focuses around inheriting a house and clashing ideas on what to do with it! It sounded amazing. Trigger warnings: anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks
I just, wow. That’s the best way to encapsulate my thoughts. Holy heck, wow.
I have so much love for this book, so I’m going to start with the love this book holds as well. It’s all encompassing. The heart of this book is a love that is complete, loving the stresses, the flaws, the struggles, loving the real person. It’s about realizing you deserve love and helping the people around you realize the same. And to see this happening through two characters that I related to so much, characters that I love with my whole entire heart was so amazing.
Alright so we’re moving on to the characters. I love love love Maybell. She is hilarious, shy, and incredibly sweet. She concocts elaborate daydreams where everything is perfect (and the answer to questions is [redacted] when she does not know it, seriously, it’s amazing) to help get her through reality. She’s compassionate and longs to help people. She bakes amazing donuts and wants to open a hotel and host elaborate and well planned out events. She felt so real, and I loved her so much.
I love love love Wesley. He has a gruff and grumpy exterior, but he has a heart of pure gold. He also has social anxiety, and wow, it was so amazing to see a male character deal with mental illness like this. He gets nervous, he puts on a rude front to avoid conversations, and he has panic attacks. I loved seeing how he dealt with this and how it impacted his life. He is also one of the sweetest freaking people ever. Like, he writes notes to Maybell and draws the two of them together and his speech bubble is full of hearts. He puts brochures to her hotel on people’s cars to help her drum up business. He wants to open an animal sanctuary for old farm animals for the sweetest reason and has the best name for it. He’s truly such a good guy.
Maybell and Wesley together made me want to scream. I love them both so much, and dang, the tension between them was TENSE. The dance they did around each other was incredibly written. Honestly, hats off to Hogle for writing the slow burn, enemies-to-lovers way about their relationship. It had me wanting to smack them both and give them hugs.
There is also so many donuts and pastries, which is amazing.
This book has magic around it’s edges, and it’s the kind of book that I read through eyes blurry with tears. I teared up reading the acknowledgments. I teared up during the end. I tear up thinking about this book. It is so kind to it’s characters and the characters are so kind as well. It’s fluffy and sweet and so, so full of love. Falling in love, to being in love, to accepting love, to showing love, to just love in general. You’re loved. That’s what the book is about. It’s about knowing you’re loved. And just, wow. I love it so much.