Cooper (Truths and Roses, 2012, etc.) finds that pleasant middle ground between lowbrow Harlequin schmaltz and highbrow neurotic love.
After wealthy New York City stockbroker Ian McKinley has to bail his son Luke out of jail for pot possession, he moves his family to the small town of Keeling Creek, Va. While the setup feels a bit rushed (Luke dramatically tells his dad he feels responsible for his mother’s death—she died after having him—within the first few pages), Cooper quickly finds her footing as she transitions the story south to town vet Colby Williams. Colby was forced to raise her daughter Lena on her own after Colby’s college boyfriend, Doug, bailed. A strong woman who put herself through college pregnant and owns her own vet practice, Colby is subject to everyone’s meddling. While it seems half the town is always trying to set her up on dates (especially best friend Phoebe), she’s content to be single. That is, until hunky Ian shows up in her office. And despite the fact that every woman in Keeling Creek wants a piece of Ian (who happens to be engaged to a woman back in New York), he eventually, through a series of somewhat unrealistic but fun hijinks, gets to know Colby. A few dynamic subplots are smartly interwoven as Lena starts to fall for Luke at school and leans on him as she finds out her mother lied to her about the whereabouts of her MIA father. So while the book may have started off a bit rocky, the conclusion is brought together nicely, tying things up with subtle life lessons.
This enjoyable romance will appeal to readers who like down-home, midlife romance stories with relatable characters and animal sidekicks.