Desperate to get away from his wealthy, privileged, condescending, and overbearing family, Dr. Reid Ainsworth sinks all his savings into a veterinary practice in Castro Cove, Maine. The small town is exactly what he needs to start a new life. He doesn’t know quite what to expect, but he quickly falls into a happy routine. Including coming to rely on Tom Dubois.
Tom had a hard life, but he’s been fortunate to have amazing foster parents who have helped and loved him. He made a mistake in his youth, but he’s got a huge heart and has been on the straight and narrow ever since. When Tom first meets Reid, he’s worried the new vet won’t want him to stay on, but he quickly proves himself and Reid can’t run the practice without him.
The two men are completely attracted to each other, and when they finally act on it, it’s more satisfying than either expected. But they both have misconceptions and miscommunication has them running away from each other time and again. With some well meaning friends, and some real communication, Reid and Tom realize that as opposite as they might be, they’re perfect for each other.
The premise for this one really jumped at me and I was eager to read it. But I’m sad to say, the style of writing and the narrative just didn’t work at all for me. What could have been a great story just…wasn’t. The writing felt juvenile at times, as did the characters, and there were some pretty glaring issues working against this book for me.
So I will say that, on the whole, I liked the characters. Both Reid and Tom, while sometimes acting far more immature than their ages suggest, were sweet and loving. And the author did a decent job of showing us their chemistry, as well as who they both were at their heart. So I liked them, and the secondary character of Trudy, a lot. But basically, for me, that’s where the good things end.
First and foremost, it really got under my skin that this story was set in Maine, but the author used British English phrasings and spellings. It pulled me out of the story each and every time because it was glaring that this was not how a New Englander would think or talk. So for me, this was a huge downside to the story. Let me be clear, if these characters were British or the story was set in some small, coastal British town, it would have been perfect. But it wasn’t, so it was wholly distracting.
The style of narrative didn’t work for me either. There were a lot of redundancies and repetitive phrases, enough so they started jumping off the page as if they were highlighted. I don’t need the same information repeated over and over again. Reid’s eyes are a startling blue. I don’t need to be told that multiple times. Tom was raised in foster care, and Ada and Bob are his foster parents. Once is enough. After that, I don’t need to be reminded that Ada and Bob are his foster parents. But the author thought it was important to mention that again and again. These are just two examples from the first few pages of the book, but it happened repeatedly with different things. This, too, was irksome to me, and pulled me from the story.
And then there was the stereotypical behavior of most of the characters, and it goes beyond just characterization. The wealthy parents were elitist jerks and caricatures of such. The small town folk were naïve and narrow minded, to a degree. Again, just caricatures. This didn’t work for me on many levels, and I found myself rolling my eyes more than once.
Sadly, this book had a lot of potential but it just fell woefully short. Within the first several chapters, I was already ready and waiting for the book to be done. As much as I enjoyed the two MCs, it just couldn’t make up for the problems with the rest of the book for me. Unfortunately, I’d have to say, give this book a pass.