I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Somebody Like You (Darling, VT #1) by Donna Alward
Series: Darling, VT #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on February 7th 2017
“Those who stood on the bridge and sealed their love with a kiss would be together forever.”
FINAL DECISION: A book with a wonderful sense of heart, I absolutely loved this one. Wholesome and sweet with just enough humor and angst to keep the story exciting, my first Donna Alward novel made me immediately preorder the rest of the series so that I can find out the fates of the other characters.
THE STORY: Laurel Stone has returned to her hometown after a failed marriage which necessitated a change in careers. Laurel now owns the Ladybug Garden Center which is reconnecting her with the outdoors that she loved growing up. Laurel’s return to Darling also ends up reconnecting her to Aiden Gallagher who broke her heart when they were a teenagers. Aiden is now a police officer in town. Aiden and Laurel have a long history together and, in fact, they are legends because they are depicted in the most famous picture in town. As small children, Aiden and Laurel innocently kissed on the Kissing Bridge where legend holds that those who kiss there will be together forever. Now the town wants to update the photo using Aiden and Laurel again, but Laurel is in no mood to cooperate.
OPINION: A lovely, heart warming small town romance, SOMEBODY LIKE YOU was a book that I read only because it was offered to me to review. I accepted the chance to review the book intrigued by the Kissing Bridge and the idea that two people who were photographed on it as children get a chance at romance as adults. Sometimes I just have to take a wild chance and see what happens.
I’m happy to report that this was a wonderful book. Funny, sweet, and heartwarming. Once I began reading it, I couldn’t put it down. The story satisfied something in me that likes the gentle and real relationships. (I love angsty dramas but this book isn’t that type of book. Instead, this book feels like sweet and cold ice cream on a summer’s day — recognizable and incredibly satisfying).
Laurel is a woman recovering from the end of a marriage that made her question all her assumptions about her own future and happy endings. She is generous and willing to help others even to her own detriment. She is unwilling to purposely hurt others and that had led her to be taken advantage of by some…but it also opens her up to being wonderful in helping those who genuinely need assistance. I loved that she is a normal woman who is struggling to determine what she wants from life. She works hard, is charitable and has to work through her mixed emotions for not only Aiden but her ex-husband.
Aiden is so much a normal guy that I never expected him to become one of my favorite romantic heroes. Like so many of us, he made mistakes as a teenager. In his case, it resulted in him hurting Laurel which is something he never intended to do. He is considered the goofball of his family, but like so many clowns, his humor hides a sensitive soul. Aiden is a man who wants to make a difference out of the genuine goodwill in his heart. Caring for a homeless man, solving small town disputes and crimes, and being an important part of his family is a normal day for Aiden. Laurel and her pain and love brings out Aiden’s desire to care for her.
I loved the romance between Aiden and Laurel. Two people who have known one another all their lives, their interactions have been a series of getting to know one another and then moving apart. Their romance seemed to have possibilities as teenagers, but immaturity sent them spinning out into the world with other relationships. Meeting again as adults, the two know one anther but don’t truly know the inner self of the other. But this time, Aiden and Laurel begin to discover the true self under all the superficial. Aiden sees the generous and hurt woman under Laurel calm facade and Laurel discovers the deep and caring man under Aiden’s humorous surface.
I’m all for large romantic gestures, and Aiden’s final one made me sigh and smile and read again. When I began the book, I had expectations and I liked how the book played with those expectations, turned them around and then surpassed what I expected from the final scenes. Bravo!
The town of Darling manages to feel both incredibly normal and real and also quaint and a typical small town. The characters are quirky and bring a tremendous amount of humor to the book. I just knew when I finished this book that I had to read the next books in the series. And so I shall…see my reviews soon.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book doesn’t contain explicit “on screen” sex and is perfect for those who might want a less graphic and yet entirely satisfying romance.
CONNECTED BOOKS: SOMEBODY LIKE YOU is the first book in the Darling, VT series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.