Willow Springs by Toni Blake
June 26, 2012
Reviewed by Helyce
Amy Bright has lived in Destiny her whole life. She’s a nice, sweet woman that her
friends and family can count on. She is very generous with the people in her life and often puts everyone’s needs before her own. She’s happy, but she longs for a man in her life; she wants a loving relationship like her friends Tessa and Rachel have. Amy has a reputation for being a matchmaker in the little town of Destiny, but she worries
that she’ll always be the bridesmaid and never the bride.
Logan Whitaker is also a very good friend of Amy. Logan is a firefighter, but after a recent fire where two lives were lost, he slips into a kind of depression and decides that he doesn’t want to be a firefighter anymore. Amy supports Logan through this time, stopping by his house, making sure he’s eating and taking care of his dog.
It is during one of these visits that things take an unexpected turn and Logan and Amy share a really hot kiss. They’ve never seen each other in a romantic way and the kiss surprises and confuses both of them. Amy, though, begins to see Logan as much more than just a friend, but her shyness holds her back and she doesn’t know what to do. Determined to make Logan see her differently, she resorts to being his secret admirer, leaving him sexy, suggestive notes on his car’s windshield. But things like this never go as planned and when a young woman returns to Destiny and Logan shows an interest
in her, Amy’s not sure she’s up for the competition.
Willow Springs is my first read by Ms. Blake and I struggled a bit with this story. I’m a fan of the friends to lovers theme, but early on something is revealed about Amy and I found it so hard to believe in this particular instance that I almost gave up on it, but I didn’t.
Initially I was not a fan of Amy. Yes, she’s shy, but it also seemed like she let people walk all over her. She just goes along, making sure everyone else is happy without caring for herself. When she starts writing the notes and gets a bit bolder with each one, we begin to see another side of Amy and I slowly became more of a fan. When she reveals herself to Logan as his secret admirer because she’s sure Logan is planning to hook up with another woman, I gained more respect for her character. We begin to see a stronger, more confident Amy than ever before and she continues to grow as the story progresses.
Logan is dealing with a lot of personal issues following the fire that caused the deaths of an older couple from Destiny who were family friends. On top of that, he’s got these new feelings for Amy, someone he’s always just thought of as a friend. He’s also struggling with his attraction to Anna, another young woman in town who is practically throwing herself at Logan every chance she can. Deep down he knows his feeling for Amy mean something, but he’s never been serious about a woman before and he just
doesn’t recognize what it for what it is.
Amy and Logan go through some pretty typical boyfriend/girlfriend type stuff throughout this story; the other woman, misread signals, poor communication, etc. When Amy finally has a revelation about her own self worth and realizes she’s deserves so much more than Logan is willing to give at this time, I was really glad to see Amy finally show some spine. This excerpt occurs near the end after Logan and Amy have been together and Amy thinks things are on track for them, but Logan just can’t say the words to commit so she makes this decision:
So when the car pulled to the curb outside the bookstore, she reached for the door handle, and –without looking at him, because that would just be too difficult—spoke in a clear, sure voice around that lump still residing in her throat.
“Logan, what you said about figuring out what you want to do about us—you don’t have to figure it out. Because….I already did. I don’t think I’m interested anymore.”
She could feel his surprise, even without glancing his way. “Interested in what?”
“You. Us. That way. Romantically.” She opened the door now, preparing to go. But his shock was so great that it practically filled the car, even if she saw his eyes widen on her with only her peripheral vision. “What do you mean?”
“The thing is,” she began. “if it’s such a hard decision…well, I’d rather be with
somebody who doesn’t have to decide, who just knows. Who knows I’m amazing. Who knows I’m the best thing that ever happened to him. Who takes me with my faults. That’s what I deserve. And if you’re not that guy—then a relationship with you would never be enough for me.”
At this point, the ball is now in Logan’s court and any future he may have with Amy is truly up to him. The way the author wraps this up was a bit predictable, but at the same time, for an HEA, it really couldn’t have gone any other way. This was a nice story, but nothing in it really stood out for me; I didn’t really “feel” anything as I read it. I didn’t fall for Logan and while I was happy to see Amy’s character grow and change, it just wasn’t enough to “wow” me.