Unfortunately, one of my least favorite Shalvis books to date. There is humor and charm.. but the main characters left something to be desired.More in depth review to come.
(Originally posted as a guest review)
I’m a nut for the cute and quirky contemporary romance novel, and Jill Shalvis has consistently delivered on all fronts. Always On My Mind is entry number eight within her Lucky Harbor series and features baker Leah Sullivan and the hunky fireman, Jack Harper. While the book is filled with Shalvis’ typical humor and charm, it mostly fell flat when it came to the overall execution.
Putting her baking skills to good use, Leah Sullivan has returned to Lucky Harbor to help out her grandmother at her bakery while avoiding the town’s questions about her recent stint on a reality tv cooking show. Sexy fireman Jack Harper has been Leah’s good friend since she was a teenager. Jack strenuously objects to the fib Leah tells his mother about the two of them being involved. Footloose and fancy free, Jack doesn’t let any woman get too close, but he reluctantly agrees to Leah’s deception.
Jack’s reasons for not wanting to get involved with Leah or anyone else for that matter come across as ordinary and foolish. He lost his dad at a young age and his mother never became involved with anyone else over the course of his life. He likes being a free agent and is well known for dating multiple women. There isn’t a lot of depth to his character and this led to me being pretty bored while I was reading.
Unfortunately for Always On My Mind, Leah’s character wasn’t any better. Raised by a verbally abusive father, Leah lacks the confidence that an otherwise bright and engaging woman might possess. Used to running when the going gets tough, she doesn’t really shed that part of her character.. and growth on her part didn’t come fast enough for me.
That being said, it’s not like the book isn’t without humor or charm. There are some great moments between Jack and Leah, especially at the beginning of their relationship “charade”. I also liked when the book took a few moments to highlight what presumably is the next couple, Ben and Aubrey. You met Aubrey in Ali’s book, It Had To Be You, and truth be told, I was more curious about Ben and Aubrey as opposed to Leah and Jack. There was an odd subplot in the book that involved several incidents of arson that ends with Leah being put in danger. This didn’t mesh with the overall tone of the book at all and had me wondering why it was put into the story in the first place.
In the hands of a different author, this story would be forgettable at best, and probably a DNF at worst. As Ms. Shalvis is an extremely capable author, I did like the story, but it’s not close to being one of my favorites.