Review: Somebody Like You by Donna Alward (Darling, VT #1)

Note: This ARC was provided by St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.

There’s something about a well-written small town romance that gets to me. Maybe it’s the more closely knit community and how these places often seem so quaint and picturesque yet have unsavory aspects to them—from the gossip to the over-competitiveness among neighbors and so on. Last year, I read Laura Trentham’s Cottonbloom series and it’s now become the gold standard in as far as I’m concerned when it comes to small town romances. I know it isn’t fair to compare, but let’s face it: we do tend to compare the book we’re currently reading to the most previous one that fell in the same genre or to the one that we consider our favorite. Suffice it to say that when I was invited by the publisher—which is the same one for the Cottonbloom books—to read and review the Darling, VT series, I was both excited and cautious, but author Donna Alward’s series starter, Somebody Like You, won me over, and I do look forward to reading books two and three.

This first in the series is a second chance romance of sorts between two former best friends, Laurel Stone and Aiden Gallagher. Their friendship changed at seventeen after a kiss that evolved into a bit more turned out to be nothing more than a bet that Aiden made with his fellow football players. One broken heart, a milkshake dumped over one’s head, and more than a decade later, Laurel is back home in Darling, Vermont after learning that her husband was cheating on her—with another man—and going through a divorce. She’s opened the Ladybug Garden Center and is looking forward to starting anew, accepting that being back in Darling means her life is under scrutiny and open to the usual gossip. When the center falls victim to vandalism, the cop that shows up is none other than Aiden—and he’s no longer the boy she kissed over the Kissing Bridge nor the teenager who humiliated her. He’s all man and a temptation she needs to stay away from.

Aiden knows all too well how long the memories of people in his hometown of Darling, Vermont can be. The kiss he shared with Laurel when they were just kids was immortalized with one photo, and it’s become a symbol for Darling. He hurt her when they were in high school after he allowed himself to be pressured into taking a bet. Now, she’s back, and he wants to make amends, but it’s pretty clear that Laurel isn’t too ready to accept his words of apology or his hand in renewed friendship. But is it really just friendship that Aiden wants? He had feelings for her growing up, and that attraction for his former best friend is obviously even stronger now that they’re in their late twenties. With the town hoping that Aiden and Laurel will agree to a new campaign to promote tourism that will have them restaging their moment over the Kissing Bridge, will there be hope for these two to really move forward or will they remain stuck in their respective pasts?

I quite liked this story, especially with the idea of Laurel and Aiden sharing an innocent kiss as children and the town hoping for a Kissing Bridge photo updated version. It was like their story was coming full circle, but of course, they were going to need a few complications to keep things interesting, and nothing could be more complicated than the emotional issues that they had bottled up inside them. Admittedly, Laurel was too nice—everyone around her was telling her so, and I’m sorry but I would have smacked her ex-husband for his asinine and selfish behavior. He took advantage of her being a nice person and not wanting to say “no”. Aiden deserved a hug for standing up for her and Laurel seriously needed an attitude check. There’s one particular supporting character who stood out—George—and I hope he gets his own slice of love and joy as this lovely series progresses because he’s a huge reason why Somebody Like You gets 4.5 stars. ♥

Release Date: 07 February 2017

Date Read: 03 February 2017

Learn more about Donna Alward.

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