Some people like small town romances. Others don’t. I’m in the former category, so I was generally predisposed to like Simply Irresistible. Luckily, aside from the archetypal quirky small town type characters, it has great leads and a stand-out romance.
Maddie Moore was raised by her father, a set designer for the film industry, and never really knew her mother. Her life is totally upended when she leaves her abusive boyfriend and gets fired, and she drives up to a small town in Washington where her recently deceased mother left a dilapidated old inn to her three daughters. The three women, of whom Maddie is the middle child, didn’t grow up together and have a less than copacetic relationship. Maddie is determined to bring them together, though, and restore the inn. Along with that, she’s hoping to regain her confidence and turn her life around.
Helping with both endeavors is Jax Cullen, a lawyer turned carpenter-mayor-business owner. He’s instantly attracted to Maddie, even though she’s sort of clumsy and keeps trying to push him away. The two have chemistry like whoa, and despite her “no men” vow, the two of them soon find themselves to be the subject of town gossip. However, Jax isn’t all that he seems, and he has a past that he’s been trying to escape in his new life in Lucky Harbor. That means he has some secrets, and isn’t too willing to open up to Maddie, and despite their growing affection his reticence may start things before they can truly start.
First of all, I loved Jax. Loved loved loved him. He was sexy and kind and understanding and supportive, while still having a bit of an edge to him and pushing Maddie beyond her comfort zone. He was so good to Maddie. It was super easy to fall in love with him, and the two of them together were both hot and sweet. Maddie was interesting too, quirky while also being very real, a bit vulnerable, and strong.
The sisters, too, were good characters. They will each be having their own books in the Lucky Harbor trilogy, and it’s perfectly clear who they’ll be falling for. The sisters were labeled by their mother as “The Mouse” (Maddie), “The Steel Magnolia” (Tara), and “The Wild Child” (Chloe). Personally I think this is rather insensitive of the mother, at least for Maddie’s nickname, but whatever. They have an interesting dynamic, one that I enjoyed. I do wish we had been given more information about their pasts, though. We learn very little about their fathers, or how the sisters got to know each other when they were young. It’s all very unclear, and a bit confusing.
Aside from a few inconsistencies (Jax winking, and then taking his dark sunglasses off, or Tara and Chloe being 34 and 24 respectively, but only being eight years apart), this was my only major gripe. And it’s not really a big one, all things considered. While I can’t quite give this book DIK status, I can say with certainty I’ll be re-reading it soon.