Series: Wildstone #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: June 19th 2018
My Rating: 5 Cups
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Following the USA Today bestseller, Lost and Found Sisters, comes Rainy Day Friends, Jill Shalvis’ moving story of heart, loss, betrayal, and friendship.*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.
Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife. Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person? Can she even trust herself?
Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan. Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Green changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build.
**Disclaimer: This book contains mature content. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.
I went into reading this book expecting the usual fun, easygoing story from Jill Shalvis, but instead I found so much more. I found a story so deep, a story so complex, so important, and so heartbreakingly beautiful, and I am so happy and honored I got to read it.
The story follows Lanie, a thirty-year-old woman trying to get her life back on track after her husband of 5 years died and her entire world came crashing down on her. While it's sad that she lost her husband, the real tragedy is in the lies and deceit her ex caused. Because apparently Kyle, her ex, had "married" multiple women, and after he died they all found out about each other. So she takes up a temp job, moves to a new town, and tries to find herself again. She's not looking for anything, really, just maybe a way to move on. Lanie is a really nice woman, but a hurt one. She's proud, she's prickly, and she has a lot of walls built around her. Her parents weren't the most loving in the world, her husband betrayed her, so she doesn't really feel like she can be loved. At the Capriotti Winery she learns more than the fact that she can be loved, that she can belong; she learns that she's worth it, which is not an easy lesson to learn. She also learns to forgive, despite the fact that she cannot forget.
Intertwined with her story is that of River, a pregnant young woman of only twenty-one years old, trying to find a place in the world for herself and her unborn baby. She's hurt, she's alone, she's scared, and she wants to fight against the shitty cards life has dealt her. Fortunately, she ends up at Capriotti Winery and finds herself surrounded by good people, people who also teach her she's worth it. I especially loved River because her will to live despite everything is inspiring.
Lanie meets Mark at the winery, and slowly but surely they fall in love. Mark also has a rather painful story, and a lot of lessons to learn, lessons that he can't learn in the comfort of his family. He has two adorable twins that had me fall in love with them for the first time they appear on page.
While the romance in this book is sweet, cute, and heartwarming, the subplot of Lanie and River's relationship is the reason I gave this book a 5-cup rating. Because while I loved seeing Lanie and Mark fall in love with one another, seeing Lanie and River heal themselves and realizing they were just victims of the cruelty and selfishness of one man was the best thing ever. Now, don't be fooled into thinking the road is easy. It isn't. Shalvis wrote these two women with a huge range of emotions: hurt, anger, rage, betrayal, fear. Betrayal runs deep in both of them, but it's Lanie that struggles the most with her anger at being betrayed. It's this plot line that made me fall in love with this book.
All in all, I really loved this book and I am very curious to see what comes next for the Capriotti clan.
Anxiety Girl, able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound!
Most of the time Karma was a bitch, but every once in awhile she could be surprisingly nice, even kind. Lanie Jacobs, way past overdue for both of those things, told herself this was her time. Seize the day and all that, and drawing a deep breath, she exited the highway at Wildstone.
The old wild-west California town was nestled in the rolling hills between the Pacific Coast and wine/ranching country. She’d actually grown up not too far from here, though it felt like a lifetime ago. The road was narrow and curvy, and since it’d rained earlier, she added tricky and slick to her growing list of issues. She was already white-knuckling a sharp turn when a kamikaze squirrel darted into her lane, causing her to nearly swerve into oncoming traffic before remembering the rules of country driving.
Never leave your lane; not for weather, animals, or even God himself.
Luckily the squirrel reversed direction, but before she could relax a trio of deer bounded across the road. “Run, Bambi,” she cried, hitting her brakes, and by the skin of their collective teeth, they all missed each other.
Sweating, nerves sizzling like live wires, she finally turned onto Capriotti Lane and parked as she’d been instructed.
It took a moment for her pulse to come down from stroke level. She’d been taught anti-anxiety techniques, but she’d never quite figured out how to make any of them work while in the actual throes of an anxiety attack.
It’s all good she told herself but because she wasn’t buying what she was selling, she had to force herself out of the car like she was a five year old starting kindergarten instead of being thirty and simply facing a brand new job. Given all she’d been through, this should be easy, even fun. But sometimes adulthood felt like the vet’s office and she was the dog excited for the car ride -- only to find out the real destination.
Shaking her head, she strode across the parking lot. It was April, which meant the rolling hills to the east were green and lush and the Pacific Ocean to the west looked like a surfer’s dream, all of it so gorgeous it could’ve been a postcard. A beautiful smoke screen over her not-so-beautiful past. The air was scented like a really expensive sea-and-earth candle, though all Lanie could smell was her forgotten hopes and dreams. With wood chips crunching under her shoes, she headed through the entrance beneath which was a huge wooden sign that read:
Capriotti Winery, from our fields to your table…
Her heart sped up. Nerves, of course, the bane of her existence. But after a very crappy few years, she was changing her path. For once in her godforsaken life, something was going to work out for her. This was going to work out for her.
She was grimly determined.
ABOUT JILL SHALVIS
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
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