September 18, 2016 by Evelyn Summers
Chase Cade is as untethered as a kite without a string.
The minute she drives past the “Welcome to Maybelle” sign after six months traveling, she knows the quaint little town is something new entirely. It’s more than the good food and welcoming people — with the exception of the gruff bartender she meets her first night out.
Aden Riveau couldn’t be more rooted in Maybelle if he were an actual tree.
In a town that caters to tourists, his bar is the only place the locals have all to themselves. Everyone knows him and he knows everyone, and nothing spoils his peace more than having to deal with nosy, gawking tourists who don’t stick around.
She’s only in Maybelle for a vacation, and he’s never taken a vacation in his life. He can’t stop thinking about how different she is, and she can’t stop trying to figure him out. But her reservation has an end, and his never will, unless he can find a way to pour his heart out.
Flings were part of the fantasy of traveling: being pulled by attraction to veritable strangers for hours or days, totally outside their real worlds.
This was a wonderfully impressive debut from author Zoe Lee, particularly deep and thoughtful. Lee’s world-building skills are already extraordinarily developed, crafting an entire cast of complex characters and relationships, and a town, and describing them fabulously to the reader.
This was a very strong love story working within the framework of the ‘opposites attract’ theme, and I really did find that I very quickly formed emotional attachments to Chase and Aden, and even a surprising amount to the supporting cast.
However, despite these excellent aspects, I found the pacing just too slow for my liking, with very little happening for much of the story, and the angst-filled moments concluding too quickly. There was just too much detail on the mundane, which although can work in moderation, just became a littletedious for me towards the end.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the third person narrative, particularly in this novel where I feel that a first person narrative from Chase was all that would really have been necessary, maintaining the mystery and grouchy nature of Aden. With the third person, although we as readers got to know Chase and Aden extremely well, it felt like these bits were missing from their communication with one another.
“All I need, when you go or I leave you, is a promise you’ll be back.”
Overall, a strong debut from an author to watch, just let down slightly by its slow pacing and lack of focus.