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LATE BLOOMER

Opposites attract in this sweet Sapphic romance.

After she wins the lottery, a woman’s spontaneous purchase of a flower farm lands her a surprise roommate, too.

Opal Devlin is known for being a people-pleaser, the type of woman who will do any favor a friend asks of her. When she unexpectedly wins the lottery, her phone starts blowing up with long-lost connections trying to get a piece of the pie—and making her wish she could get away from it all. When she finds an ad for a flower farm for sale in Asheville, North Carolina, it seems like the perfect solution to her problems. She buys Thistle and Bloom convinced she’s making the right decision for her future, not only acquiring a place to get away from the demands on her time and wallet but giving herself the space to pursue the full-time art career she’s always wanted. The biggest wrench in her plan? Thistle and Bloom already has an occupant: Pepper Boden has been keeping the farm afloat since her grandmother died, and she thought she owned the place—until her estranged mother sold it out from under her. Although Opal and Pepper hardly get off on the right foot, they agree to cohabitate until they can figure out who’s moving where. While Opal wants to use the farm as a backdrop for her painting business, she knows she needs Pepper’s knowledge and skill with flowers to ensure Thistle and Bloom keeps turning a profit. Living under the same leaky roof has its complications, however, not least of which is the women’s budding interest in one another, and their forced proximity leads to several delightful scenarios. Eddings’ latest romance is evidence of the author’s own blossoming, as she uses Opal’s and Pepper’s individual struggles and stark personality differences to explore important discussions about mental health and neurodivergence that don’t feel out of place. The characters have easily distinguishable voices, and their alternating perspectives offer a deeper look into this endearing, emotional love story.

Opposites attract in this sweet Sapphic romance.

Pub Date: April 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781250847089

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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JUST FOR THE SUMMER

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Two people with bad luck in relationships find each other through a popular Reddit thread.

Emma Grant and her best friend, Maddy, are travel nurses, working at hospitals for three-month stints while they see the country. Just a few weeks before they’re set to move to Hawaii, Emma reads a popular “Am I the Asshole” Reddit thread from a Minnesota man who thinks he’s cursed—women he dates find their soulmates after breaking up with him, and the latest one found true love with his best friend! Emma has had a similar experience, which inspires her to DM the man and commiserate. She’s delighted by her witty, lively interactions with software engineer Justin Dahl, and is intrigued when he suggests that if they date each other, maybe they’ll each find their soulmate afterward. Emma upends the Hawaii plan and convinces Maddy to move to Minneapolis for the summer so she can meet Justin in person. The overly complex setup brings Emma and Justin together and the two hit it off, with Justin immediately falling head over heels for Emma. Jimenez then pivots to creating romantic roadblocks and melodramatic subplots centering on each character’s family of origin. Justin’s mother is about to serve six years in prison for embezzlement, which means Justin must move back home to care for his three much younger siblings. Emma was traumatized by her own mother for much of her childhood, left to fend for herself and eventually abandoned in the foster system. When her mother shows up in Minnesota, Emma must face her traumatic childhood and admit that she has prioritized her mother’s well-being over her own. There is little time devoted to Emma’s painful efforts to heal herself enough to accept Justin’s love, which leaves the novel feeling unsatisfying.

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781538704431

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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HAPPY PLACE

A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

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Exes pretend they’re still together for the sake of their friends on their annual summer vacation.

Wyn Connor and Harriet Kilpatrick were the perfect couple—until Wyn dumped Harriet for reasons she still doesn’t fully understand. They’ve been part of the same boisterous friend group since college, and they know that their breakup will devastate the others and make things more than a little awkward. So they keep it a secret from their friends and families—in fact, Harriet barely even admits it to herself, focusing instead on her grueling hours as a surgical resident. She’s ready for a vacation at her happy place—the Maine cottage she and her friends visit every summer. But (surprise!) Wyn is there too, and he and Harriet have to share a (very romantic) room and a bed. Telling the truth about their breakup is out of the question, because the cottage is up for sale, and this is the group’s last hurrah. Determined to make sure everyone has the perfect last trip, Harriet and Wyn resolve to fake their relationship for the week. The problem with this plan, of course, is that Harriet still has major feelings for Wyn—feelings that only get stronger as they pretend to be blissfully in love. As always, Henry’s dialogue is sparkling and the banter between characters is snappy and hilarious. Wyn and Harriet’s relationship, shown both in the past and the present, feels achingly real. Their breakup, as well as their complicated relationships with their own families, adds a twinge of melancholy, as do the relatable growing pains of a group of friends whose lives are taking them in different directions.

A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9780593441275

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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