Review: Renaissance by Lillian Francis (Village Love #2)


Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Oh my. Renaissance was nothing like I expected it to be. It was so much better than whatever expectations I had! This third release and second full-length novel in author Lillian Francis's Village Love series turns the spotlight from Rick Brandt and Mal Mamood, whose story was told in Resonance and Resistance, the prequel novella and first full-length novel, respectively, to print shop owner Arthur Jobs, more popularly known as Smudge, and librarian Raleigh Fortier. With his tattoos and multi-colored fauxhawk, Smudge personified the image of a bad boy, while Raleigh, with his pale skin, quiet demeanor, and being the church organist, was deemed the good guy. They weren't friends; if anything, Raleigh seemed to dislike Smudge immensely, avoiding him whenever possible, leaving Smudge baffled as to what he may have done to elicit such animosity from him. But Raleigh has his reasons--not just for keeping his distance from Smudge but for why he is the way he is. Even as they forge as hesitant and unexpected friendship, once Smudge learns Raleigh's secrets, whatever they may have developing may swiftly end.

Smudge and Raleigh were both supporting characters in Resistance, with Smudge giving Rick a nudge or two in the right direction (towards Mal, of course) and Raleigh crushing on clueless Rick. I wouldn't necessarily call theirs an enemies-to-lovers romance since they weren't really enemies, albeit it certainly appeared that way, what with Raleigh running off every single time Smudge was on his way to return his borrowed library books. When we learn why Raleigh did what he did, it's far easier to empathize with him, although I confess that my heart kind of broke for poor Smudge, who was truly one of the nicest blokes around. This was more of a slow burn romance, a journey of sorts as Smudge and Raleigh realized that they actually could be friends and maybe even something more, if they gave themselves half a chance and if they believed they were worthy of the other's affections. I loved seeing how Smudge and Raleigh broke through walls and found love and peace with each other. Having the rest of the Slopy Bottom villagers around made it all the more entertaining. Without a doubt, Renaissance deserves five stars. ♥

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Read my reviews for the Village Love series:


Resonance (prequel novella) - 3.5 stars - My Review

Resistance (book one) - four stars - My Review

Renaissance (book two) - five stars - My Review (posted above)

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Date Read: 08 April 2017

Learn more about Lillian Francis.

Purchase Renaissance on Amazon.

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