May Contain Spoilers
I admit I borrowed this book because of the dog on the cover. I was hoping it would like some of the Jill Shalvis titles I have enjoyed, with a lot of interaction with the dog, and how sad is that. At this particular point in time, I am more interested in the relationships between the animals and people than the characters themselves. This must be a side-effect of taking care of Poppy since her surgery.
This is the first Hope novel that I have read, and I enjoyed it even without reading the rest of the series. There are a couple of characters I am interested in getting to know better, so I will probably read their books. This was a successful jumping on point for me; I love second chance romances, the dog does get a large role, and the hero is a great guy.
Loretta broke Deacon’s heart years ago. Bending under pressure from her parents, she told her high school sweetheart that she didn’t love him anymore, went off to college, and married the guy her parents approved of. Twelve years later, Loretta is divorced and back in Hope, Oklahoma. Her ex, Tom, was already making plans to replace her for a more suitable partner. Tom is a politician and he’s running for office, and suddenly Loretta isn’t good enough for him. What do you expect from a politician?
After a generous settlement, Loretta is determined to make her young daughter’s life a happy one. She’s purchased a farm, opened a bookstore, and has promised Hazel that she can get a dog from the shelter. The only problem with her new life? Deacon is back in her orbit, and her feelings for him, as well as the guilt, haven’t gone away.
When Hazel picks a Great Dane puppy for their new dog, Loretta’s world tilts further off course. Deacon and Hazel have struck up a kind of a friendship as he works a construction job next door to the bookstore, and it makes Loretta uneasy. When Deacon offers to help Hazel train Otis, Loretta isn’t too thrilled. She’s been making a point of staying far, far away from Deacon, and now Hazel has invited him over to the farm. For dinner! Poor Loretta.
I really enjoyed Love Me Again. Second chance at love is probably my favorite trope. There are so many issues that Loretta and Deacon have to work through, and even though Deacon wants nothing to do with Loretta, he can’t stop his feelings for her. He never fell out of love with her, and her being back in town is working a number on his heart.
I loved the relationship between Deacon and Hazel. He is instantly drawn to Loretta’s daughter, and who could blame him. She’s exuberant, inquisitive, and sweet. She loves animals and works hard to turn Otis from a heathen puppy into a well-trained member of the family. Deacon wants to protect her, and after learning that her father ignores her unless it earns him a photo op for his campaign, he’s determined to never lie to her or let her down. When Loretta kept putting the brakes on her feelings for Deacon, I wanted to shake her. How can you not love a guy who is so kind to your daughter and your large, slobbery dog?
Loretta is the main hang up in their romance. Her marriage to Tom was not happy, and he stifled her personality. She and Hazel weren’t allowed to be anything but perfect, and she is afraid of making another mistake and putting her daughter, and herself, in that kind of a situation again. It’s kind of hard to blame her, considering what a douche Tom is, but come on! Loretta has known Deacon most of her life, and he never once threatened her independence. In fact, he encouraged it, so Loretta’s reluctance to commit to him was ever so irritating.
Despite that one quibble, I thought this was a great read. I was convinced with the HEA, and know that Loretta and Deacon will be there for each other.
Grade: 3.75 – 4 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book:
In the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Let Go, it’s never too late for a second chance at first love…
When Loretta Simmons returns to Hope, Oklahoma, after a disastrous marriage, she’s determined to remain independent for the sake of her daughter. The only thing standing in her way is Deacon Fox—the man she loved and walked away from years ago.
Since Loretta owns the bookstore right next to his current renovation project, Deacon can’t escape the woman who broke his heart. Throw in her adorable little girl and one ridiculously oversized dog, and they’re almost a family. Only he can’t be that guy—what they had was once in a lifetime.
But love has a funny way of re-opening a door you thought was firmly closed…