Charlotte Dawson is having a bad day. She shops at Alder Market on Tuesdays specifically to avoid running into Ruby Pearl, the most judgmental of the gossipy old ladies in town and her biggest non-fan. In an effort to avoid the woman, she takes refuge in the liquor section only to run into (literally) the new bag man, Ian Cleary, who is a gorgeous redhead with the most adorable freckles. Despite her klutziness, Charlotte makes as great an impression on Ian as he does to her. Over the next few weeks, these two make a connection between the aisles that has them instantly falling for each other despite their complicated issues. She’s a young widow with a four-year old son and he’s an Oscar winning Hollywood actor secretly hiding out in Sun Valley pretending to be his mother’s nephew.
The bones of this story were highly promising, which is what intrigued me to give it a try. I loved the idea of a romance developing in a grocery market from awkward encounters. Charlotte and Ian were in their late twenties and their wildly differing backgrounds made them potentially interesting characters. Unfortunately, their stories read more like the romance between two high school teens and for that, I’m not the target audience. The dialogue missed the mark completely and their reactions to conflict, especially Charlotte’s, were immature and often tiresome.
The setting for the story is in Georgia and it didn’t miss trading on the most superficial of southern traditions. I’m familiar with them having lived in the South for many years so the references fell flat. Gossipy older women are a staple but the women in this story weren’t charming but downright vicious. A wonderful opportunity for a side angle was missed here, too. Again, I’m the wrong audience as others reviewing the story had better experiences so I’d compare them before making a decision. Because buried among my disappointments were some really good situational issues for two strong, very likable characters who kept me in the story.
- Release Date: October 13, 2020
- Series: Sunrise Valley #1
- Page Numbers: 234
- Publisher: Tenacious Books Publishing
(Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)