Top positive review
5.0 out of 5 starsWonderful. Beautiful. Awesome!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 18, 2019
ALL THE SWOONS! No, seriously! This book is a new favorite by Jill Shalvis. I keep waiting for my girl crush on this author to wear off but she keeps delivering the best romance with the swooniest heroes and the sassiest heroines. On that note, I know this has been tagged as women's fiction but it has all the makings of a contemporary romance. So don't let that category turn you off!
In THE LEMON SISTERS, the third in Ms. Shalvis's Wildstone series, we meet, surprise, the Lemon sisters. Brooke lives in LA and only goes home sporadically. A surprise visit by her sister, Mindy, and her three kids, takes her back to her hometown, Wildstone. She's determined to find her old self, make amends with her estranged sister, apologize to the man she left without a word, and return to LA as a new/old Brooke. Running into Garrett, the only man she ever loved, goes as expected - where Brooke is concerned he is distant, sometimes even unfriendly and not amicable at all.
Over the course of the story we learn about the tragedy that happened to Brooke and how that affected her future. I think many women will sympathize with her. The reasons she left Wildstone made sense to me, although I'm not a fan of characters keeping secrets. I know it's an often used plot device - I trusted Jill Shalvis because she has never let me down. She didn't this time either. After the helicopter accident, that not only wrecked her body but also her confidence and spirit, the reckless love for life she'd always had, she built walls around her heart. Brooke didn't let anyone in. No one. My heart was heavy with sadness for her - even when she was surrounded by people she was lonely.
Garrett doesn't feel very benevolent towards Brooke - this woman did a number on him yet when she returns the pull is still there. He is so determined not to get caught in her web again because he was left one too many times. Having grown up in the system he knows much about abandonment and he's still dealing with the issues that come with it. Brooke's leaving without a single word destroyed him because she was his everything and he, too, has learned to harden his heart.
As always this author gives us a charismatic, beautiful, soulful man who is loyal and patient to a fault. I have yet to read a book with a douche by Jill Shalvis. I'm not holding my breath. I loved Garrett, so so much, how accepting he was, how he kept telling himself to not fall for his ex-girlfriend.He was so conflicted about his still strong feelings for Brooke and his abandonment issues and fear of having his heart broken again. And yet, despite all his denying that he would, he fell again.
Brooke had all my love too. When these two learned to trust one another and in each other again, the spirited, vivacious, sweet young woman Brooke used to be, appeared under the rubble of the tragedy. And she was wonderful with all her quirks and OCD.
They had undeniable chemistry that burned up the pages and, fair warning, your ovaries may be in danger of exploding. I just wanted to smoosh their faces together and tell them to get over it already!
I'll put a trigger warning here, because I know some women may find this story hard to read (view spoiler)
There is a third POV from which we learn about Mindy's marital issues. I wasn't a huge fan of her with her know-it-all attitude and her nagging for a long while but she grew on me. She lashed out at her sister but I had to give her some leeway because she didn't know the full extent of the reason why Brooke had walled herself off. I adored Mindy's husband, Lincoln, who wanted nothing more to lighten his wife's burden and give her everything she wanted. Their children were another highlight in this book. I loved them all but Maddox, the youngest little man, who barked instead of talked...man, I wanted to adopt him right away. He was the best, the funniest and sweetest kid I've read about. So freaking cute.
We all know these books, the ones we don't want to end yet we need to know that things will be alright. THE LEMON SISTERS is one of those. I could have read about Brooke and Garrett's HEA forever - although I was done I just wanted more.
I love the small town feel of this series and that it feels more like romance than women's fiction. Jill Shalvis is a fixture on my reading list - her warm, sweet, beautiful stories light up my day. This story has everything we love as readers: a surprising dose of angst, hilarious banter, nuggets of wisdom, relatable, lovable characters and because it's Jill Shalvis, lots of animals. This book can be read as a standalone but trust me when I say you will want to read the previous stories too. I'm leaving Wildstone with a book hangover and I'll be waiting patiently until I have the next in this series in my hands.