I’ve loved all of Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski books so I was super excited to see this new release! I’ve read them all so I was familiar with this heroine – small town Whitford’s librarian Hailey. She loves her small town life, her family and friends but is feeling like she might need more. Recently many of her friends have settled down, gotten married and even had some kids. Hailey is feeling pretty anxious to find someone of her own and has a picture in her mind what he would be like but is pretty sure that doesn’t really exist in her town, much less her world.
She’s dragged on an adventure with her best friend into the wilderness, where Hailey is without a doubt NOT at her best. She wore brand new shoes, is in pain and when they get lost is so over being outdoors. Matt Barnett, the game warden, comes to the rescue and leads them out of the woods. His first impression of Hailey is of a primadonna who doesn’t like to be dirty and Hailey isn’t exactly enamored of him either. Although they both are immediately attracted to the other. When Matt moves in next door to Hailey neither one are all that thrilled. That soon begins to change as circumstances – and Matt’s dog- bring them together repeatedly.
I was looking forward to Hailey’s book since we had seen her previously as the friend of the other women in the Kowalski books and because she’s a Librarian. I can’t resist a book about someone who loves books! I wasn’t disappointed at all, there were so many things I liked about this book. While Hailey is portrayed as feeling a little desperate to settle down, she is 40 so it’s also presented as completely reasonable in my opinion. She doesn’t come across as needing a man to complete her in any way, just that she wants what her friends have – a happy marriage and children.
Matt is younger than Hailey and that really isn’t ever an issue that’s brought up, which I loved. There was no cougar term being brought up at all. The complications in the relationship come from Matt being a completely outdoors-y guy, from what he does for a living to what he does for fun. He’s had this ruin previous relationships and he is not looking for another woman who can’t handle dirty boots being brought in the house and his erratic schedule screwing up plans. He’s not interested in someone trying to make him into what he’s not and he worries that is exactly what Hailey will do.
The secret star of the book for me is of course the dog. I always love when there are pets in books and especially when they have actual characters like they do in the real world so I was kind of madly in love with the dog who cracked me up. Meanwhile that made me love Matt even more because he talks to him and treats him like most people I know really do treat their pets.
So another generally great Kowalski book. I look forward to the next one!
I received this ARC in return via Netgalley for an honest review