Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
God bless my fellow bookstagrammers & book-lovers for spreading the word about books you’re adoring. That’s how I found Megan Bannen’s The Undertaking of Hart & Mercy, & it delighted me so hard.
From the first pages, when the hero & heroine haven’t actually seen each other in person yet but the author has so perfectly captured their antagonism, I was ALL in.
Marshal and demigod Hart Ralston & undertaker Mercy Birdsall do not like each other. But they must work together at times.
Then one day Mercy gets a letter from “a friend.” That friend is actually Hart, who didn’t think his letter would actually get delivered to someone.
It’s a You’ve Got Mail-ish situation, people! Only add fantasy.
This is so wonderfully & inventively written, the chemistry between leads—& their slow & then fast fall into attraction & feelings—is compelling & lovely, & it all comes together so heartwarmingly at the end MY GOD.
It was just so good. The dance scene, the epilogue .
Other things I loved: a grand p*%#> declaration, a taciturn hero who also cries, stunning final lines.
Check this one out!!
5 ⭐️. Out 08/23.
CWs: Death. Violence. Reference to cheating & death of family members. Parental abandonment in past and current fears over parent's health. Hart is somewhat self-conscious about being a demigod due to how others have treated him in the past.
Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Q: what’s your opinion about a You’ve Got Mail situation in books or movies?
Lauren Layne’s books always feel so glossy & sophisticated to me—like they’re letting me peek into another possible life—but they’re also still warm & gently amusing. It’s been a couple of years since I devoured her backlist & it’s always a pleasure stepping back into her voice.
But To Sir, with Love isn’t an unqualified “love” for me.
Likened to You’ve Got Mail & other examples featuring that dynamic, To Sir is about a fairy-tale obsessed woman, Gracie Cooper, who’s taken on a job at her family’s champagne store out of familial obligation & hasn’t found a (reciprocated) love…despite her very romantic nature.
But she does regularly correspond with “Sir” as “Lady,” & they share news & feelings & thoughts with each other through an anonymous dating app. But Sir has a girlfriend. His friend entered him on the app as a joke.
Sebastian Andrews, the totally awful man trying to buy out the lease on her family’s store, has a gf too. But also Sebastian is handsome & surprises Gracies sometimes with flashes of non-shark behavior.
Two men. Two possibilities. & also zero possibilities.
The interplay between Gracie & “both” men is charming, particularly between Gracie & Sebastian. I really go for a charmer lead / more uptight lead sighing in exasperation dynamic. The use of 1st person & the overall premise feels really relatable to my look-for-romance under every rainbow personality.
But the “You’ve Got Mail”-esque plot complications aren’t executed pleasingly. I often feel frustrated & or question how it’s present in the book—how the leads are acting, what is supported & not supported by the story itself, etc.
There’s a conflict moment to me that also feels shallow & kinda “huh?”
This is a fun read mainly because of LL’s voice & flair, but it stalls on the You’ve Got Mail angle for me.
4 ⭐️. Release date: 06/29
Give me that HEA, please.
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