Between folk remedies and a "no strings attached" romance, Jesse is beginning to think she's found her own brand of lovesick cure--because there's nothing like a pinch of confidence and a dash of attraction to mend a broken heart.
Comment: Another book that has been in the pile for some time. Having enjoyed the two historical books that precede this one (Marrying Stone and Simple Jess), I was quite curious to see how the contemporary setting would be presented while still featuring the same place and traditions that became familiar to the reader in the other novels.
In this book, several years ahead of the previous ones, we have Jesse Winsloe as protagonist and how she returns to the Ozarks to spend some time with her aunt Will, an old woman very well respected by the community but already frail. Jesse has had a double setback in her life, being laid off and dumped by her fiancé. Now she wants time to regroup, to get over her heartbreak and maybe connect with her roots once more. But in the Ozarks she finds a sick aunt Will and a fascinating PA in the form of Piney Baxley. A lovesick cure by aunt Will beings them to a common ground but in the end, can Jesse find a new future and goals?
I liked this book mostly because of the relationship between aunt Will and Jesse. It's not in your face nor too mushy but it has the right amount of layers needed to make this a strong family story. Yes, this has romance, it has funny scenes but to me what made this really worth it were the emotions displayed and dealt with while the generations talked and improved their family bonds. I have to say some parts were quite emotional, even when it was related to other characters.
I guess this is the strength of the author's work, how little things seem to have major importance just by the way we read about them being part of people's thoughts. Things we don't normally pay attention or think about but are still there, like Jesse and aunt Will talking, or how Piney was as honest and caring with his teenage son. It makes everything to sound so simple...but RL isn't always like this and the book also has less then positive scenes and moments to make this book a balanced one and not too mushy or silly.
In terms of romance, I kind of liked it. It's not too obvious, it's not the focus but it's done well enough for the reader to consider it an important part of the main couple's presence in the story and the connection necessary for the HEA to happen. The way Jesse and Piney talk about their pasts, their previous relationships and some of their thoughts, it's clear they are a match but I liked it how they were forming a friendship before they decided to become intimate. And even in that regard, things weren't silly sections where they only have sex and that's it. Their relationship is just a part of the plot not the center form which everything revolves around. In a way, I would say this book is closer to the women's fiction side of romance, rather than pure contemporary romance.
Like I said, plenty of emotions in this novel, many difficult situations to think about but at the end of it, I think the author has presented us with interesting topics of debate. It's not easy to think about people we like being sick, or about the choices we must do in key stages in out life when everything seems too much of a challenge, nor is it easy to simply think about the past and the people who lived then, what they went through now that new and younger generations live and have other problems. I often wonder how my grandparent's life really was, did they face the same problems, did they have the same doubts, even if all at a different level?
I believe this is a book to make you think about this sort of stuff, to make you compare the fictional side of things to real life people and how things just change...
All in all, a good book, strong enough romance and side elements. I had a good experience reading this story.