Gabby has lived in Bandon, Oregon all her life, and she’s never wanted to live anywhere else. Despite it being a small town, everyone is accepting of Gabby’s sexuality; the only problem they have is that everyone wants Gabby to find someone to settle down and be happy with. Bandon’s prayers are answered when Gabby witnesses an accident when the town drunk runs into Aneko’s car and Gabby, a volunteer firefighter, is first on the scene.
Aneko is everything Gabby wants in a partner. The two women hit it off instantly and go from awkward introductions to soul-searing kisses. Unfortunately for Gabby, Aneko is only passing through town as she relocates from California to Washington. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a few whirlwind dates and some great sex in the meantime. But the more Gabby gets to know Aneko, the more clear it becomes that she’s not going to be happy with a long distance relationship. Will Gabby have to leave her only home? Or will she have to say goodbye to her chance at happiness?
To say Gabby is a good person is to understate both her natural warmth and love and the many ways she makes the lives of those around her better. When she was six, Gabby organized a sale to raise money for a student with cancer. She volunteers as a firefighter and lives with an older man suffering from a terminal illness. She’s warm and giving and there’s not a soul in Bandon she hasn’t touched in some way. But she’s lonely. In her own words, she’s planted a few girlfriends, but none of them took root.
Aneko’s last girlfriend cheated on her. Three times. When she was offered a job in Washington, Aneko took it without a thought, eager to get away and start fresh. Ideally, she’d live in a nice, friendly small town — though perhaps not so small as Bandon, which boasts a modest 3000 people — but something about the place appeals to her. The people are nice, the climate is great, and she’d be able to get a garden going, something that would be difficult in the chill, foggy area of Washington where she was thinking of moving.
When the two of them first kiss, it’s almost magic. While neither of them quite believe in love at first sight, they both felt something special pass between them. Before even going out on the first date, Aneko and Gabby make sure they’re both on the same page. They both want the same thing, both out of the date (dinner and conversation), and what comes after (more sex — Gabby’s been through a dry spell and she’s determined to make the most of this chance.)
Reading this book felt more like reading a cliff’s note summary of a story. Everything was so rushed and shallow that it gives us all the highlights with no details, drama, or development for the characters. Gabby’s more giving and more brave than Aneko, who is more sexually adventurous and forthright, but they’re still mostly sketched out ideas of characters rather than feeling like people. So much happens in the course of a sentence that I felt like I was being told goodbye before I’d even opened the book.
I just didn’t feel like there was much story here. It’s a little too long and spread out to be a short story, and a little too thin and stretched out to be a novella. There were also some grammar and tense issues, as well as the occasional mistaken word choice that drew my attention more than the characters did. It’s not a bad book by any means. It’s nice to see a small town that isn’t villainized, where people are nice to their neighbors, and think highly of each other. However, it wasn’t able to hold my interest, and I’m going to suggest passing this one by.