Thursday, March 16, 2017

Susan's review of Someone to Love by Donna Alward

Someone to Love is the second book in Donna Alward’s Darling Vermont series. It’s a thoughtful, character- driven novel which touches upon the importance of family, the grieving process and the ability to make hard decisions. The novel features Café owner Willow Dunaway and widowed firefighter Ethan Gallagher. Their unlikely opposites attract love story drew me into this fabulously written novel.

His wife had died. That gave a man an excuse to be grouchy, didn’t it? And Hannah knew him better than anyone, probably. Her face had softened, talking about him and how he loved his kids.
Willow’s heart ached for him. He had to be hurting so much. She knew what it was like to feel you’d lost everything.
On Sunday, she decided, she would be the epitome of kindness and tolerance. No matter how condescending he was. In her experience, a good dose of kindness went a long way.

Ethan and his late wife, Lisa, promised to love each other forever. They had a wonderful, simple plan; get married, buy a house and have children. The Gallagher’s picture perfect life ended when Lisa died of cancer leaving Ethan with two young sons to raise. The demands of raising two small children alone and working fulltime as a firefighter have brought Ethan to the breaking point. He is ill-tempered and rude to Willow when they sit next to each other at a Gallagher family dinner.

In contrast, Willow has chosen a peaceful existence; she meditates and practices yoga. She owns the Purple Pig café which provides healthy meals and treats to the community. She has reconnected with several friends; Laurel Gallagher, who is married to Ethan’s brother and his sister, real estate agent Hannah Gallagher. Willow’s mother made several decisions on Willow’s behalf when she was a teenager. These actions had long lasting emotional and physical effects for Willow.

Hannah asks Willow to watch Ethan’s sons for her so she can show a property to some clients. Ethan meets them and is furious. The couple finds common ground when the town’s food pantry is relocated in the storefront next to Willow’s café. Ethan and Willow try to fight their attraction but the physical pull is undeniable and a passionate relationship ensues. The author’s descriptive writing style shines in the novel. She does a fabulous job bringing Ethan’s children Ronan and Connor into the storyline. The two boys warm up to Willow immediately and I could hear Ronan say ‘Wil-low” and imagine Connor running after a soccer ball. Willow makes a choice which effects Ethan and the choice leads to a huge falling out between the couple.

The last few chapters were fast paced, exquisitely written— and kept me reading past my bedtime. I enjoyed how the author let Willow’s personal story unfold during the course of the novel and contrasted it with Ethan’s publically visual situation. I felt for Willow and came to understand Ethan as I read each page. The author stayed true to her characters Willow’s choice was heartfelt. Ethan’s reaction was pure Ethan; a boatload of angry words, finger pointing and denial. I preferred the open- ended conclusion to the novel as opposed to the traditional happily ever after ending that one might have expected. It was perfect!

Someone to Love is the best book that I have read in years!
Am so looking forward to the next book in the series!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
Edited by Brian McGee
ARC provided by the publisher


  1. Lovely review, sounds like a great book.

  2. Oh Susan! That's a lovely review, thank you so much!


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