Maddie’s best friend and goat-farm owner, Clover, has hired Sy Travino to come work for her as a cheese maker. Sy bought her first ever house sans house inspection and has never seen snow in her life. And the reason Clover is telling Maddie all this is not just to share the gossip, but in hopes that Maddie can help Sy with repairs and upgrades to her house. Maddie needs the money, Sy needs a house to have a roof that won’t collapse on her head (and a winter coat, and snow tires, and a shovel!) and, more than that, Sy needs a friend.
Having left the restaurant life in LA for the quieter, though in some ways harder life of being a cheese maker, Sy is starting over. She has no bed, no couch, no oven to cook on. Just an air mattress in her car, a house that needs so many repairs — so many expensive repairs — and her confidence. Lucky for Sy, Maddie takes a small bit of pity on her and offers to teach her to do some things for herself to help offset the costs. Like demolition, laying tile, painting … all with some hands on teaching.
This is the first book in the Renovation Romance series and is a cozy slice of life involving a contractor, a cheese maker, and a cat. There are Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas trees, and a lot of sex. Sy and Maddie hit it off from the beginning, and they’re off into dates and flirting from day one. By the end of the book, not much has happened save Sy’s house is finished and she has a working stove.
Maddie likes being in control, likes having everything in its proper place, likes knowing all the answers. Her last romance left her with a bad taste in her mouth, but it doesn’t stop her when it comes to flirting with Sy the first time they meet. It does, however, cause her to be slower to trust her own feelings, slower to call what they’re doing dating — let alone using the “girlfriend” label — and reluctant to talk about feelings when they could be having sex, instead. Maddie uses sex to distract Sy more than once, and Sy falls for it time and again, yielding to Maddie’s preferences and opinions.
That’s not to say Sy is a pushover. She’s just not in a hurry. Sy is patient, centered, and thoughtful. When new events happen — such as her mother meeting someone — Sy tells her that she needs a little time to figure out what she’s feeling. That she’s not angry or upset, she just needs to digest the information so she can focus on her mother’s happiness and how that makes her happy. Sy is honest with her feelings, more willing to talk things out, and just as willing to give Maddie the space she needs.
There isn’t really a larger plot to this book. No action scenes, no drama or angst or evil rivals threatening to kidnap baby goats (I couldn’t help the pun). It’s just two women becoming friends, becoming lovers, and being happy. The writing is fine, the pace is a little on the slow side — languidly drifting through the seasons without any seeming need to actually get anywhere — and the characters are pleasant enough. Personally, this book wasn’t quite to my taste, as I did want something more to happen, some tension between the characters, but that’s not what this book is. This book is … well, cozy.
If you want a cozy read with fall leaves and snow and sapphire spice, give this book a try.