Maddie Moore’s whole life needs a makeover.
In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.
Starting over won’t be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too.
The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she’s sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie’s struggles to overcome the past, though she’s about to discover that there’s no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.
“She’s drunk dialling contractors ” Chloe said to Tara. “Someone should stop her.”
This – RITA-winning – book is one of my all-time favourite contemporary romances. Jill Shalvis writes smart, often hilarious romances with a very modern, current feel to them. Practically half of Simply Irresistible is quotable, it’s so cute, quirky and funny.
“If I looked like him,” Tara said. “I’d want to have sex with myself. All the time.”
There’re very, very few authors who do ‘small town romance’ without a big dose of Brady Bunch and a dash of fundamentalist 1940, but Jill Shalvis is one of them (Toni Blake is another excellent author in this genre). They do things people their ages actually do. Wine rather than ice tea. Staying up late rather than getting up early to catch up on their scrapbooking. I feel like the characters have parts of me in them, like they’re exactly what people of their age should be like – are like – at this point in time.
Dealing not only with the fun themes that come with small town Christmas, but also more serious issues like domestic abuse, somehow Shalvis finds a way to give her story an undercurrent of serious without ruining the Christmassy feel. I loved every moment of this book when I first read it a few years ago, and I enjoyed it just as much this time, on a reread. It’s been too long since I read anything by this author; I’d forgotten how brilliant she is at what she does.
Shalvis’ writing is a refreshing, refreshing thing, and it’s so very, very easy to see why this book won Best Contemporary Romance at the 2011 RITA Awards. It well and truly deserved it.