Hope Morningstar couldn’t believe it when she was dumped via text message. Incredibly hurt and questioning herself, Hope couldn’t help but wonder why every man – starting from her father and moving on to her latest ex-boyfriend – seemed to walk out on her. After a brilliant man-bashing verbal session with her sister and a bunch of sympathetic ears and a new haircut, Hope’s spirits have lifted somewhat. Getting lost and starving for some food, Hope ends up at a small café and meets the slightly eccentric owner, Freya. After some delicious hot chocolate and a heart-to-heart, Freya changes Hope’s life forever by introducing her to Declan.
Declan has spent the last two years getting over his ex-wife’s terrible betrayal and the death of their infant son. Although it’s been a year since he’d unburdened his soul to Freya, he’s pleased albeit apprehensive to get her phone call. Sparks fly when Declan and Hope meet up, and they’re both determined to give the chemistry bubbling between them a chance.
At first I found it hard to understand Declan and Hope’s attraction. Hope is quite bossy, feeling the need to be in control to try and protect her heart from more hurt. Declan is also quite stubborn and strong-minded, not one to back down or follow direction well. Although they don’t argue, there is definitely friction in their initial meeting. Considering their character differences I felt their getting together and spending the rest of the day together was a little rushed. It didn’t gel with my impression that although different they could come together slowly, understand each other and discover the good along with the friction. This aspect was glossed over and I felt it lent a rushed pacing to the progression of the story. It’s possible, however, this was done because of the shortness of the story and the word limit. I’d have definitely liked the build-up to their meeting rushed and more exploration of their sorting out their differences, as it would have made the story deeper and more realistic to me.
This is a heartwarming story about two people who’ve been hurt in the past and the rocky but ultimately wonderful road they tred to happiness and love. I enjoyed how honest Hope and Declan were, and how they were still flawed characters, not perfect and difficult to relate to. I particularly loved how Declan staunchly believes in love at first sight, and how he and Hope bring out the best in each other. After an initial bit of friction they complement each other wonderfully and this is a wonderful, sweet romance for women of all ages.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.