By the end of this book, I had a big smile on my face and I felt soo good. A warm, happy and pleasant feeling. Ahhh. I loved reading it. It was bitter sweet, cute and thoroughly enjoyable from start to end. A 'complete and perfect' standalone.
This is my first book by the author and after this I really can't wait to check out her other books. So, coming to the actual review of this book:
I loved how the book started with Mia's speech and how it ended with another speech from her. There are so many such 'feel good' type scenes in this book. In fact the whole book is like a collage of memorable moments in life and so picturesque and beautiful with no unnecessary drama and heart-felt dialogues. This book focus on four main characters - Mia, Garrett , Devlyn and Sheena. Now Mia is eighteen all set to go to college. She's daughter of Garrett and Sheena (a result of teenage pregnancy). She would have left her as a baby to pursue her own life- not ready to be a mom just yet and Garrett would have raised her all by himself with constant support from his family and Devlyn- his friend since childhood who would have loved him all the while before ever professing her feelings. This is the background of the story. It's not like it's an unheard of storyline but the way it's written and attention given to the characters and the small town set-up of Eden valley makes it a unique and novel way of storytelling that I completely fell in love with. I especially how every chapter alternated between Garrett, Devlyn and letters from Sheena to Mia. It concisely covered the entirely of eighteen - before and after Mia's birth and painted a good picture about the feelings of every character.
What I loved the most about the book is the bonding between all the characters - Garrett and Mia. Mia and her granddad. Mia and Devlyn and Garrett and Devlyn. The relationship dynamics were shown in a very realistic way that tugged at strings of my heart. I especially loved the connect between Garrett and Mia. Being a single father, he did everything possible for his daughter and that really melted my heart. It was soo cute and sweet. Nothing was done over the top and this simplicity truly won me over. There are other highlights as well - The true definition of being a 'mother', being totally selfless in love. The whole scenario of walking away from your love or waiting infinitely for them. Balancing between love and family - add most importantly friendship blossoming into love. All these elements were handled with great finesse and were woven seamlessly with the story.
All the characters were interesting and likable - even Sheena. She's not my fav and the author didn't even intend for it - but I don't completely hate her either. I can sympathize with her and to a degree understand her actions. Garrett and Devlyn make a nice couple and I totally loved Devlyn's commitment and devotion towards not just Garrett but Mia as well. She was a very strong, sassy character with a big heart who could love unconditionally without expecting anything in return. I got to learn a lot from her.
Though the ending is expected and predictable, I was keen to find out how it plays out and it didn't disappoint. I was rooting for a HEA right from the start and they totally deserve it!! After reading this book, I do wish to pay a visit to Eden valley and get breakfast from the 'biscuit girl' ;)
Five beautiful -cosy- sweet stars.