The Sweetest Thing
I really want to love Jill Shalvis’ books. Contemporary romance is my favorite genre, so I am always looking for new authors. In the interest of full disclosure, this is not the first book that I have tried by her that hasn’t quite worked for me. So, why try again? People who like the same type of books as I really like her books, so I gave her another try, thinking that perhaps with this book, I might find something that works.
The Sweetest Thing is the second book in Lucky Harbor series. The story is about three half sisters, who are brought together after their mother Phoebe dies. She left the three of them a house in Lucky Harbor, Washington. The three sisters plan to stay and open a bed and breakfast inn
Tara is the oldest, and was brought up by her father’s parents, since as a government scientist he traveled. She did visit Phoebe on and off. Her last visit during the summer she turned 17 changed her life because she fell in love with Ford Walker. When she ended up pregnant, she convinced Ford that it was best to give their daughter up for adoption, resulting in the demise of their relationship. After that she left Lucky Harbor and moved on with her life. She married Logan Perrish, a well known NASCAR driver, whom she just recently divorced. She has invested her settlement money into a house and is now working as a cook at Eat Me Diner while trying to ignore Ford.
At seventeen, Ford was the town’s bad boy. He fell hard for Tara and when she announced that she was pregnant, he wanted to quit school and take care of them both, but Tara persuaded him that wasn’t the best choice for their baby. Since then he has been footloose and fancy free traveling the world and competing in sailing competitions with the money and status to show for it. When he is not doing that he lives in Lucky Harbor running the town’s watering hole, The Love Shack, that he co-owns with his best friend. For six months he has been trying to get Tara to acknowledge him, but she has done an excellent job of ignoring him. However, once he has her attention he is not sure where he wants the relationship to go.
One issue I had with this book is that Ms. Shalvis’ humor doesn’t work for me. In one of the opening scenes, the heroine is selling muffins and one of the elder citizens tells her that she looks constipated. Of course that ends up with Tara yelling that she doesn’t have that problem to the whole crowd. The next thing you know, that news is on Lucky Harbor’s Facebook page with a solution. Part of the plot then involves Tara’s ex-husband Logan pursuing Tara again, wanting her back, resulting with both Ford and Logan being Facebook prattle. So in reading the book, Ms. Shalvis’ excellent writing pulls me in but then situations like the above jerk me out, with this pattern being repeated for me throughout the book.
The plot also frustrated me at times because I felt that the vacillation between the hero and heroine with their on-off relationship could have been easily resolved with a frank, honest, candid conversation. Not that I didn’t enjoy the “on” part of their relationship. Ford and Tara are both very stunning and the sexual attraction between the two is palpable. If that is one of the reasons that Ms. Shalvis’ books appeal to you, then you won’t be disappointed.
This is a difficult book for me to grade, since I have been known to not laugh at jokes that everyone else finds funny. Humor is a subjective thing, and I believe if you read the first chapter in the book you will know if Ms. Shalvis’ style works for you. So taking humor off the table, that leaves the lack of communication between the hero and heroine as my main justification for my B- grade. I know for many that the sexual attraction between the two will more then compensate for this, but for me the book went on way too long.