Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Jar of Dreams

Jar of Dreams
Jar of Dreams by Liz Flaherty
January 14, 2013
Carina Press
Source: NetGalley (for honest review)
Genre: Adult Romance (contains some sexual situations)
Goodreads Summary:
For as long as she can remember, Lucy Dolan has been jotting down her hopes on slips of paper and saving them in a pickle jar—her jar of dreams. It was the first thing she saved when the beloved family diner went up in flames, and it's safely buckled in her beat-up minivan when she lands in Taft, Indiana, to start over. She rents a room and goes into business with her landlady, but then Gert's nephew comes charging in to "rescue" his aunt.

Boone Brennan will be damned if he'll let Lucy take advantage of Aunt Gert, who raised him and his sister. Believing that she's just passing through, he's deeply suspicious of her—despite the sparks that fly between them.

Just as Boone and Lucy are starting to open up to each other, a series of fires throws Lucy under suspicion. Boone wants to trust her and his feelings, but with the whole town against her, will he stay by her side? Or will Lucy move on and find another place to make her dreams come true?
My Review:

Aunt Gert raised Boone and his sister Kelly after their parents died when they were children. She also raised Crocket, Boone's best friend; the three of them growing up together, then going in different directions after high school. But all three are still protective of Aunt Gert. Enter the mysterious Lucy, who was actually referred to Aunt Gert by Crocket, but has a cloud of suspicion over her according to Kelly. Kelly's suspicions initially rub off on Boone until he starts to get to know Lucy, and they start to develop feelings for each other. But the suspicions never quite leave, especially when Kelly won't let them go, and questionable circumstances continue to arise. What follows is a great read about a community and an emerging couple.

One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the small town feel of it. Taft, Indiana is someplace you wouldn't mind your car breaking down in the middle of. There is a family feel about the community that I loved. The characters themselves are great. Boone and Lucy have both been dealing with devastating loses from their pasts, and I liked watching how they helped one another, but also found ways to help themselves and not completely rely on someone else fixing their problems. I liked watching their romance develop and through the writing felt their feelings. I love that even the secondary characters all have backstories that are referred to, making you feel even more a part of their lives. They aren't just cardboard cut-out background pieces. I wanted to eat lunch at Gert's café, get my gas for my car at Sim's, eat dessert with Boone, Lucy, and Crocket, and attend the church picnic with everyone.

The storyline itself went beyond just a budding romance. There was coping with loss, rebuilding trust, reconnecting friendships, forgiveness, and, of course, falling in love. There are also other minor romances and potential romances going on that I wouldn't mind reading about in the future. The ending definitely left me with a lingering hope for more from these characters. These are definitely characters you grow to love. My only issue was toward the end when the suspicious circumstances were dealt with. The fix was a bit too easy and not quite realistic, though I could understand how a small community would want the best for its members.

Bottomline: This is a well-paced, sweet romance, full of enough depth to make the characters and situations real, yet enough hope and heart to make you fall in love with the them and their community. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
4-1/2 STARS

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