Angst ridden holidays.
I was reading this novella and thinking how familiar it was. Then I was convinced I had already read it. And at one point, I could predict everything that was happening, so I was concerned this was stolen from another author’s work. Well… if I had happened to read the blurb like any good reader would do, I would have been informed that this was included in the anthology ‘Winter Hearts’ last year.
Even thought it was so familiar and predictable (having clearly read it last year), I continued to read because I wanted to remember what happened/how it ended.
Hope is larger than life pop star. She got into it for the fame and money. To leave her small Georgia town. She has been in love with her childhood best friend/sweetheart, Julie, forever. Except for those two times she cheated on her. Trigger warning: cheating. Something terrible happens and it brings Hope back home for a bit.
The novella has chapters that are titled and are closely aligned with song titles and lyrics. I wanted to like that. But I didn’t. I’m too judgmental when it comes to music. And I never feel like it is a good idea to include song lyrics in stories. So all this did was provide distraction when the story could have been told more seamlessly without all of that.
This is the second holiday novella in a row that I have read where there are pretty tragic story arcs involved. I guess that mirrors the major holiday movies I have seen over the years, but I’m surprised by the darkness in these books I am reading. I definitely wouldn’t put this on the feel-good romance shelf.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I wish that I would have liked Hope more. She came off as self centered and spoiled. The author tried to convince us that this is excusable because she was abandoned as a child, but there wasn’t enough time in this novella to make me believe that she was a ‘good person deep down.’ And I liked Julie but wondered why she would even consider giving a Hope a second chance. She is more forgiving than me, that is for sure.
I recommend this to people who like to read about angst, celebrities, second chances, gun violence, physical therapy, and ring pops.