A romantic comedy featuring a young woman stuck in the past and her next-door neighbor, who harbors a secret passion.
LilyAnn was once crowned Peachy-Keen Queen of Blessings, Ga., but that was years ago, when her boyfriend was still alive. When he died in Iraq, LilyAnn remade her identity into the grieving girlfriend, and now, 11 years later, although graveside visits have ended, she is overweight, unhappy, anti-social and stuck in a life she had little hand in shaping. Her companion over the years has been Mike Dalton, a childhood friend and next-door neighbor. He has adored her forever and hopes one day she’ll wake up so their love can be less one-sided. Thankfully, the ladies at the local salon, The Curl Up & Dye, will help the two move in the right direction. Meanwhile, T.J. Lachlan has come to town, and his rowdy machismo has inspired LilyAnn to lose some weight. The turn of events has outraged Mike (he suspects LilyAnn of flirting with T.J.), who feels his decadelong patience and faithfulness has been for naught. Mike plans on making LilyAnn jealous; she plans on ignoring him. They both give each other the cold shoulder. And then LilyAnn recognizes that she may have been in love with Mike all along, if only he would talk to her again. Only when T.J. reveals himself to be a real villain do Mike and LilyAnn realize that they should dispense with all their nonsense and get married. Sala, author of dozens of novels (A Thousand Lies, 2013, etc.), seems less interested in the motivations of her characters than the machinations of the plot, leaving a sense of tired inevitability to the happy ending.
Two-dimensional characters and clunky writing leaves little to recommend this predictable romance.