Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of Annie Rains. But then when I looked her up on Goodreads, I found that I did recognize some of her book covers! They all look like Hallmark holiday movie covers and I am totally here for it! After recognizing her covers I was even more excited to read this book, considering I had in fact picked up one of her holiday books in line at the grocery store this year to check out while waiting to check out!
So what made me say yes to reading this one? Well, when it came across my desk for review, I couldn’t wait to pick up something light hearted and happy! I am almost always game for something light and happy especially at the holiday season. But the last few months I have been on a full tilt murder mystery kick and I needed this light and happy book now more than ever! So I wholeheartedly agreed to review this one in an instant! I am so glad that I did too!
This book came at the perfect time for me, and even though it’s part of a series, I didn’t feel lost or anything in this one. It had it’s own unique storyline and characters and honestly how could I pass on a book about finding love in a bookshop?! The answer is—-I couldn’t! What I didn’t count on was the unexpected mystery contained in this story. It was the perfect book to segue from all the intense thrillers I’ve been reading—a book with a bit of a mystery to satisfy my mystery craving, but also a HEA with romance and books!
She’s ready to start a new chapter in her life…
For Tess Lane, owning Lakeside Books is a dream come true, but it’s the weekly book club she hosts for the women in town that Tess enjoys the most. The gatherings have been her lifeline over the past three years since her husband’s mysterious death. Tess has tried to move on, but when River Harrison shows up on her doorstep, all her lingering questions come rushing back.…
River, a former marine turned private investigator, was her husband’s best friend, and seeing him again is a reminder of everything Tess lost. At first, she tries to ignore him, but Tess comes to realize that this is her chance, once and for all, to find the answers that have troubled her for years.
With the support of her friends, Tess joins River on a journey of discovery that leads them to the edges of Somerset Lake and on a road trip down the Carolina coast. Although their adventure isn’t always easy, Tess starts to find the joy in life again. But when secrets surrounding her husband’s death are finally revealed, can Tess find it in her heart to forgive the mistakes of the past … and maybe even open herself up to love again? (summary from Goodreads)
I love small town romances! I know it’s not for everyone, but for me, I just love the charm and simplicity of a small town romance and I will say that this author does a fantastic job at creating a believable, quaint, and charming small town that readers will surly fall in love with! If you are a fan of Hallmark movies this is an author you don’t want to miss, she does a great job at creating believable characters, locations, personal struggles, romance, relationships and of course a HEA. I liked that this book had a little bit of everything with the death of Tess’s husband I got a bit of mystery, the friendships in this book play a big role so it ticks the box for women’s fiction for me and of course the love interest in River ticked the romance box. So if you are looking for something with variety then I think this would be a good option for you.
The bonus for me in this one was the enemies to lovers troupe. River and Tess are not friends, in fact Tess does NOT like River at all and I loved watching how their tension translated into attraction and chemistry later on. This isn’t a ‘bodice ripper’ romance so if you are looking for that you might want to try something else, but this is more of the sweet variety. That’s not to say there isn’t chemistry (there is) it’s just presented in a different way and I absolutely love that in this book.
I also really liked that Tess was a biracial character. So many “Hallmark romances” do not have a lot of diversity in their characters so I appreciated that about this book and thought it added to the plot even if it wasn’t the focus of the book. Representation matters so even if it’s small, it’s progress. I also love how much books are featured in this one. I mean who doesn’t love a book with a built in book club?! I love reading books that feature books so that made the story extra enjoyable for me. My only criticism of this book was while it had a lot of different topics that might appeal to a lot of readers, it sometimes felt like a lot. There are friendship themes, family themes, romance, mystery—-all the things so it felt a little busy at times but overall it was a fun read and I am so glad I finally got to read this author! I will certainly be picking up more of her books in the future!
It is on-sale to Jan 10, 2023 – the latest release of the book is in mass market format and available at 8.99 https://www.amazon.com/True-Love-Bookshop-Annie-Rains/dp/1538710064/ref=monarch_sidesheet
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 5th 2022 by Forever
ISBN 1538710056 (ISBN13: 9781538710050)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Forever, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: romance, small town romance, women’s fiction