Aiden Gallagher was only five years old when he appeared in a photograph on the Kissing Bridge. The town of Darling, Vermont, has used Aiden’s image on the famed bridge—local legend has it that a kiss there results in everlasting love—as part of its tourism campaign. Now, twenty years later, Aiden is asked to recreate the moment with the woman he once kissed: Laurel Stone.
Recently divorced, there’s nothing Laurel wants less than to pretend happily-ever-after with Aiden. As teenagers, their romance was no fairy tale—and Laurel has never quite forgiven Aiden for breaking her heart. But now that she is back in her hometown, and keeps bumping into police officer Aiden, Laurel can’t deny that there’s still a strong flicker between her and her old flame. Could it be that the Kissing Bridge is working its magic on Laurel and Aiden—and that all true love ever needed was a second chance?
Donna Alward’s Somebody Like You is a fabulous second chance romance set in the small town of Darling, Vermont. After an emotionally draining, awkward divorce, Laurel Stone has returned home to Darling to heal. She has purchased a garden center, joined the Chamber of Commerce and has reconnected with several old friends. Although, Laurel has been avoiding one person in particular--Aiden Gallagher, the boy that broke her heart in high school. However, she meets Aiden, now a member of the Darling police force, when her business is vandalized. Aiden and Laurel slowly begin to bond after her business is vandalized a second time. He returns the garden center after work and he helps her paint over graffiti.
Donna Alward is a new-to-me author. I love her descriptive voice and how she carefully balanced Lauren’s fear of being hurt with Aiden’s need to be forgiven in the novel. The pacing of their story was perfect, the dialogue was both honest and witty and the author did a fabulous job weaving in the secondary character of George, a homeless veteran, into both Lauren and Aiden’s lives.
The secondary characters of George, Willow and Rory played important roles in the plot. Through George, the author provides an honest look at the emotional difficulties that veterans encounter when they return home. The friendship between Laurel and Willow and the back and forth banter between Aiden and his brother Rory added humor, balance and authenticity to the plot. I enjoyed the superbly written scenes when calm, serene Willow offers Laurel unconditional support and challenges Laurel to make peace with the past. The powerful connection between the main characters captivated me from the first chapter of the book and kept me reading past my bedtime!
If you enjoy contemporary novels written by Samantha Chase, Debbie Mason and Sherryl Woods, you will adore this appealing, poignant love story!
Review by Susan Gorman
ARC courtesy of St Martin's Press
Edited by Brian McGee
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Author Biography: While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers! Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict.