Desert Isle Keeper
Her Homecoming Wish
Her Homecoming Wish is a beautiful surprise of a novel, a small-town romance with a sense of humor drawn exquisitely from life.
Mackenzie (Mack) Wallace is living in flux. Having left her marriage, cheating husband and home in the snooty town of Glenfadden, Connecticut, she’s returned to her home town of Gallant Lake and is living over her father’s liquor store while trying to figure out what do to next. She sneaks downstairs one night to grab herself a bit of the bubbly – only to accidentally alert the authorities to an intruder! Fortunately, the cop who comes to arrest her happens to be someone she knows.
Sheriff Danny Adams has no idea what the heck Mack is doing walking around her dad’s liquor store at two in the morning, naked under her sweats, wearing hiking boots and trying to get drunk off of the inventory. But he doesn’t shoot her by mistake, thankfully.
Times have changed since they were kids. “Danger Danny” is now a lawman and a single dad co-parenting with his ex, and sweet, straitlaced Mack wants to go a little wild and break free after playing by the rules got her nothing but a failed marriage.
Joining the local Women in Charge group, Mack starts planning to modernize the liquor store as Danny deals with his daughter’s desire to model in a local fashion show. Danny and Mack start getting closer and closer.
But Danny is dealing with the possibility that Gallant Lake has become a substation supplier for opioid dealers and wrestling with a secret he cannot share; and Mack is discovering that people can be just as impossible about their liquor here as they are anywhere else in the world as she deals with her father’s announcement that he wants to retire – and and the news that he’s moving in with the long-term girlfriend about whose existence Mack had no idea.
Now this is what I call slow-burn home-town romance with personality! Her Homecoming Wish does such a fabulous job taking two imperfect people, putting them together and making them make sense as a unit – and making the reader fall in love with them along the way.
Danny is self-burdening, loving and a bit of a workaholic who has trouble balancing his job with both his relationships and his daughter. He’s understandably tightly-wound and Mack is just the antidote to his attitude.
She, meanwhile, is flailing under the weight of the breakdown of her marriage and her father’s sudden retirement (and her brother’s unavailability in the wake of his recovery from addiction.) Her life is about rebuilding bridges.
So is the romance – Mack and Danny communicate! They actually speak to one another and comfort each other in the hard times. That’s a near miracle in a romance novel!
I loved that Danny and his ex, Susanne, are still friends as they co-parent their daughter, and that Danny admires Susanne’s new fiancé, Samir, a Sudanese dermatologist whose job is rather less scary than Danny’s. They act like real people who are friends but still get frustrated with each other. I liked Danny’s relationship with his best friend, Asher, and everything about the way he interacts with his ex and daughter Chloe.
Mack’s relationship with her dad and brother – and her dad’s new girlfriend – is rather more strained, but well handled and resolved, and I liked the social circle she forms in town.
The novel doesn’t have many flaws. I think the action climax was only marginally necessary, but then again we get to see Mack claim her agency and kick butt in the name of saving Chloe’s life, and that’s awesome.
Otherwise, Her Homecoming Wish gets high marks for its wonderful, nearly flawless romance.