Reviewed by May
Madeline Donovan just ran away from her life. Her wedding. Her entire family. She didn’t exactly think it through, but when she winds up stranded in a small town with hunky bartender she decides to just shack up with him and forget about her real life.
She was free. Free in a way she hadn’t been in too many years to count. She could do whatever she wanted. There was no one looking over her shoulder, no one watching her with worried eyes. Maybe she’d have a chance to breathe and remember the girl she’d been before her life had gone to hell.
Right off the bat I had problems with this story. Our drama queen heroine drives all over the state before her car finally breaks down. She sees a bar, has limited funds, but runs right out and buys drinks at a bar with her few dollars. She refuses to think, act in an adult way, or in any form show me that she is a rational adult and not simply a hot mess. She needs saving, and is willing to take the help of a total stranger including moving right into his home.
Mitch (our Harvard lawyer turned bartender/bar owner) instantly begins calling her “Princess”, wanting to take care of her, and generally treating her as if she were a stray puppy and not a crazy woman who is eager to move right into his home because she has no plan, won’t speak to her family because they are too caring and annoying, and has no game plan to get her car fixed or move on with her life.
Most twenty-eight-year-olds in this day and age lived in their own condos in Chicago’s trendy neighborhoods. She would have, too- she’d saved every cent of the money she’d made as her brother’s office manager to do just that. She’d even found the perfect place, but then Steve proposed.
Desperate to live on her own, she’d insisted on still getting the place, but everyone kept telling her how impractical it was to buy.
Maddie takes no responsibility for herself. She could move out. She could live in an apartment or get roommate. Break up with her boyfriend she doesn’t love. She didn’t have to say yes to the fiancé she didn’t want or feel that marriage and kids was a must. She lets everyone else run her life and now that she’s run into Mitch things are no different. It’s the same story, new guy.
I wanted to like this book. So very much. I read this book while sitting in a hospital bed for heaven sake I was bored out of my mind and very much a captive audience. I wanted to believe in Mitch and Maddie and see them find true love. I was rooting for this story to work all the way through.
At no point in this story does Maddie break free, do her own thing, or save her own ass. She jumps out of one “awful” relationship (don’t even get me started…) and jumps into Mitch’s arms. He’s sexier, newer, and so she doesn’t view his meddling or insta-love status as something to run from.
The certainty that she needed to stay had only grown since last night, and the less money she had, the better. The trick was to make sure she had enough that she didn’t worry about taking advantage, but not so much that she could go anywhere.
This is after Mitch knowing Maddie for perhaps twelve hours. Playing games, being absolutely creepy, check!
If Maddie had been given time to sort herself out, if there had been a longer timeline for this story and we had watched her grow and (cliché as it sounds) find herself and stand on her own perhaps it would have worked for me. If instead of coming across like a creeper who is instantly obsessed with our heroine Mitch had been more gruff, given her some tough love and her space – perhaps.
This is a lot of “maybe” and “perhaps next time”… but I really believe this author could write a book I would enjoy. This just wasn’t it. To be blunt – I only finished this book because my options were to read it or stare at the wall.