A history-loving heroine saves her first love from a downward spiral in this emotional contemporary romance.
Jessica Creswell first meets Callen Hayes when she is 11 and he is 12. Lost and trying to find her way home, she finds Callen hiding in an old train car with noticeable bruises on his face. From then on, they become fast friends, meeting in secret. But after Callen gives Jessica her first kiss, he disappears from her life. A decade later, Callen is an award-winning composer, though he feels that his success is waning. Instead, he’s drowning himself in women, alcohol, and various other vices. Jessica and Callen’s reunion in Paris is disappointing, considering he’s drunk and doesn’t recognize her. Whatever Jessica had hoped would happen between them is written off as a lost cause. The third time’s the charm, though, when Jessica and Callen meet in France’s Loire Valley. Jessica is there for work, while Callen is hoping some relaxation will kick-start his creativity when it comes to new compositions. Callen isn’t the boy Jessica remembers, but she’s determined to help him conquer his demons like she did when they were kids. The tension between Callen and Jessica stems from what could have been, and it builds into a delicious will-they-won’t-they romance. Jessica has a love of French history and Callen is obsessed with music; it’s a treat watching each character nerd out over their interests. Sheridan (Archer’s Voice, 2018, etc.) accomplishes a feat with the realistic issues plaguing the characters: Callen harbors trauma from being physically and verbally abused by his father, while Jessica’s relationship with her dad is strained due to his constant infidelity to her late mother. Feeling much like a modern fairy tale, the well-crafted romance and beautiful French setting will take readers by surprise, with each page hitting the perfect note. Sheridan is one to watch.
Beautiful and worth staying up late to finish.