Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Bowling may not bring in the money, like football, basketball, or soccer, but for Ava Williams, it’s a sport she feels passionate about and that joy is something she wants to share with her students. Ava’s worked everything out — how much it would cost, how many students are interested, and the fact that the school used to have a winning team — and has been trying for over a year to get the principal of her school to agree, but Richard is all platitudes and fake smiles.

Until Grace Jones comes into town. Grace is the new Chemistry teacher and a champion bowler. All she has to do is smile at Richard and he’s handing over the bowling team to Grace, along with the head coach job. Ava knows it’s not Grace’s fault, but it’s still galling to be named as the ‘assistant’ coach. Grace, though, sees right through Richard and, with a smile, agrees to co-captain the team with Ava.

After all, the two of them have always been so good together. They both grew up in this small town, living in each other’s pockets as kids… until the year Grace kissed Ava, right before leaving town and entering into a private school without an apology or explanation. Now, reunited after over a decade, neither Ava nor Grace quite know what to say to one another, but something has to be said.

It’s just a question of who will say it first.

This is a warm sweater of a story. It’s got romance, communication, sass, a deep friendship, strong family elements, and even a little bit of bowling. If you just need a feel good book with a touch of spice, but a focus on the sweet, I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s also the first book in the Peach Blossom series, which means there will be more of this world and these characters yet to come!

Ava is warm and affectionate, without ever being cloying or clingy. She’s not afraid to stick up for herself, be it against the principal, her sisters, or even Grace, for all that Grace often leaves her feeling flustered. She knows her emotions are heightened around Grace, but she’s afraid to put a name to it. Ava knows it’s a lingering mix of the hurt about Grace leaving her, the burgeoning romance they almost could have had, and the attraction she feels to the woman in front of her. But it’s also the fact that Grace, the Grace standing right there, is a stranger. She’s someone who went on and lived a life separate from Ava, and who Ava wants to get to know.

Grace has come back to her home town from New York after parting from her ex due to a lack of shared goals. Her ex wanted marriage and kids, and Grace wasn’t ready for them. I would have liked to have seen more of that in her character. It’s never stated how long it’s been since her breakup, but it’s implied to be fairly recent. However, Grace quickly moves on from her ex to going through a rainbow of feelings when she sees Ava again. The ex is only brought up when Ava asks if Grace never wants to get married, and Grace says she’s only interested in marrying the right person, while staring pointedly at Ava.

It’s a cute story and I very much liked the romance, but it did feel like Grace was intended to already be in love from the first page, rather than allowed to fall in love over the course of the story. But that’s a very personal nitpick in an otherwise charming book. One of my favorite moments was one of Ava, her sisters, and father just sitting around the breakfast table talking about Ava’s mother, who died some years earlier of cancer. The obvious love and affection they had for each other, as well as their mother, the love the girls have for their father, all of it just made me smile.

This is a perfect read for Spring, I think. Light and quick and as fluffy as a bunny. If you’re interested in happy endings, happy middles, and couples who communicate, this should be something to consider. I very much recommend it.