I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The True Love Bookshop by Annie Rains
Series: Somerset Lake #3
Published by Forever on 2022-07-05
Length: 353 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2022, 2022 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge, 2022 New Release Challenge, COYER 2022
She’s ready to start a new chapter in her life…
For Tess Lane, owning Lakeside Books is a dream come true, but it’s the weekly book club she hosts for the women in town that Tess enjoys the most. The gatherings have been her lifeline over the past three years since her husband’s mysterious death. Tess has tried to move on, but when River Harrison shows up on her doorstep, all her lingering questions come rushing back.…
River, a former marine turned private investigator, was her husband’s best friend, and seeing him again is a reminder of everything Tess lost. At first, she tries to ignore him, but Tess comes to realize that this is her chance, once and for all, to find the answers that have troubled her for years.
With the support of her friends, Tess joins River on a journey of discovery that leads them to the edges of Somerset Lake and on a road trip down the Carolina coast. Although their adventure isn’t always easy, Tess starts to find the joy in life again. But when secrets surrounding her husband’s death are finally revealed, can Tess find it in her heart to forgive the mistakes of the past … and maybe even open herself up to love again?
Absolutely loved this charming, small town romance! The True Love Bookshop by Annie Rains is the third book in her series Somerset Lake that features the men and women of the fictional North Carolina town. Tess Lane is the owner of Lakeside Books where she hosts a romance book club with her closest friends. The store and book club have been her lifeline since losing her husband three years prior. Then enters River Harrison, her husband’s ex-best friend and the man who ruined their wedding by objecting all those years ago. Showing up in her shop nearly on death’s door, Tess has to reconcile her feelings for the man and how her prejudice view of him as together they unravel the mystery of her husband’s death.
Tess and River are fantastic characters and so easy to root for. Rains does not shy away from the hard topics in this book which include grief and infidelity. She handles them with grace and shows them realistically through Tess and River. Tess, even three years later, is grieving her husband, not ready to move on from this perfect marriage she’s built in her head. However, the circumstances surrounding Jared’s death haunt her. Why was he in this small town in the middle of nowhere? He said he was gone for work, but work denies it. So where was he and why? The answers aren’t pretty, but she is determined to find them.
River is the complete opposite of what Tess expected of him. He broke my heart on so many different levels. He is a loner, but has a beautiful personality and a fierce loyalty to those who love him back. Even all these years after his falling out with Jared, River still loves and mourns his best friend’s death. He regrets that they were never able to mend that friendship, and like Tess he needs answers. He never plans to bring Tess in on his investigation, however she has as much as right as he does to know the truth. And y’all the truth sometimes hurts.
The begrudging friendship that Tess offers River quickly turns into something sweeter and more. I love how this naturally progresses between the characters instead of feeling rushed or out of character. Both move at a snail’s pace, but it is worth it in the end. I absolutely loved that we were given both characters’ points of view. This helped to understand their actions and endeared River to me.
Overall, I really enjoyed The True Love Bookshop. River and Tess’s friendship that blooms into more is beautiful and exactly what I needed. Rains doesn’t shy away from the heavy emotions for this one. While it does have some sweet romcom moments, it will also pull on heartstrings. If you are a fan of romance and women’s lit, I highly recommend it.