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review 2016-12-04 06:56
{Review} The Best of Me by Elisabeth Barrett
The Best of Me: A Return to Briarwood Novel - Elisabeth Barrett

The Best of Me by Elisabeth Barrett
Series: Return to Briarwood #2
Publisher: Loveswept on January 5, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)




FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Random House LLC (via NetGalley).


Our Rating

5 Stars

Jane’s life revolves around her son, and right now that means proving herself at work, building a better life for them, and making sure he has everything he needs.  It does not mean falling for her boss, a man who is far too charming for his own good, and giving her ex a reason to challenge custody.


Judging Covers:  This is where continuity pays off.  You see, I finish another book every day or so, so you can imagine how impossible it is to remember every title, author, and series name.  But when I saw this cover, I immediately knew this was one I wanted to read.  I had to check the synopsis to remind myself which series it belonged to, but the layout and font style did their job in telling me in an instant that this book is part of one of the many series I’m trying not to lose track of.  And that picture?  Simply beautiful.


The Verdict:  Jane’s managed to keep her head above water since leaving her ex, but just barely.  The bakery where she was working closed when the building being leased was sold out from under them, but she landed a job as a pastry chef at the Briarwood Golf and Yacht Club, and if she can prove herself during her ninety-day probationary period, she’ll have herself a permanent position where she can grow and continue to bring in enough money to support herself and her son.


Her abusive ex is hardly out of the picture, though.  He may not be popping up from behind every shrub and corner, but his very existence is a constant threat, and Jane doesn’t have the financial resources to keep fighting him in court every time he decides to torture her by threatening to take custody of their son.  And it’s her single-minded commitment to being the best mother she can be that has her hesitating to give into any flirting with Preston North, the once playboy, hard-partying co-owner of the club.


Press is a much more complex guy than I would have guessed from the previous books.  A recovering alcoholic, he’s got a rather jaded view of everyone around him, and he even dresses the part that he expects people judge him to be, simply because that’s what they expect.  In his world, someone like Jane is a breath of fresh air, and while she seems to be holding him at arm’s length, he’s willing to patiently wait her out and hope she gives him a real chance.


Jane’s reasoning for keeping Press at a distance didn’t seem like the typical half-hearted excuse you get in most romances.  With Press’s reputation and past drinking problem, he’s just the kind of ammunition her ex would use against her in court, and Jane knows it.  She’s also worked hard to give her son a new, stable life, away from the fear-filled home in which they lived with his father, and she doesn’t want any potentially temporary attachments to a new man to undo her progress.  But Press is big-hearted and understanding, and he wins both Jane and her son over even before she fully lets him in.


I have to say that I absolutely loved Jane’s story.  She’s been beaten down, both literally and figuratively, and there’s evidence of that in the cautious way she’s trying to put her life back together.  But she’s also determined to stand on her own two feet, and she refuses to give in to her ex’s demands and pressure, even when it seems like he may hold all the cards.  She’s pretty much the epitome of single mothers everywhere who stay strong for their kids, even as the world keeps trying to kick them down.  Press, of course, is just wonderful.  He’s great with Jane’s son Andy, understanding of Jane’s need for independence, and (of course) all kinds of hot.  For all his sweetness, when things heat up between him and Jane, they really heat up!


I also love the way that the situation with Jane’s ex was somewhat easily resolved.  While I was expecting a lot more drama on his part, the way it played out was more true to life.  Not every custody battle is worthy of the evening news, and it was a good show of how Jane handled things well on her own.  Instead of Press having to save the day with his money or influence, it was Jane’s character and perseverance that won the battle.


The Best of Me is a heartwarming and romantic story of a single mom not just trying to make it on her own but succeeding.  The love story is somewhat slow to develop, as it should be when a kid is involved, but when it does, it becomes a wonderful, emotion-filled path to happily ever after.





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Source: ficcentral.com/central-picks/book-review/review-the-best-of-me-by-elisabeth-barrett
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review 2016-09-20 22:06
This book sure proved that opposites really do attract!

Marcus Colby was born into money, but is very successful himself in real estate. He expects his life to be completely in order and he has a hard time when things go differently than he is expecting. Marcus' Aunt Sarah was really the only family member that he actually liked and she just passed away unexpectedly while walking her dog in the woods. While Marcus was wandering through the woods to find the place where he lost his aunt, he comes across a woman sitting alone in the woods on the boardwalk he needed to cross. As Marcus walks closer, he hears the woman talking to herself and he thinks she is crazy....something he has no time for in his life.

Grace Davingham may be the daughter of the famous rock star, Jerry Davingham and the equally as famous super model, Sophie Whalley, but she was tired of being in the spotlight....especially after what happened with her ex-boyfriend. All Grace wanted was to paint wildlife pictures and bring to light the damage being done to the wildlife....so Grace moved to Eastbridge where life was way less quiet.

The first meeting of Marcus and Grace was awesome. It was so funny. I loved how these two were so different yet they seemed to compliment each other perfectly. Grace is so laid back you could feel at times like it drove Marcus crazy.

When Marcus found out he inherited his aunt's dog, a Great Dane named Mr. Pipplepotts all hell breaks loose. He can't handle a dog in his life, let alone a huge dog! This dog added so much comedy to the story! He was great! This big dog though helps bring Marcus into Grace's life more often, which he is starting to realize he enjoys. As Marcus and Grace start to spend more and more time together, it is very obvious they are meant to be together. Of course, along the way there are a few bumps (his family, her family, work etc...) but eventually they end up with their happy ending.

Overall, this was a wonderful, enjoyable read, that was filled with laughter, sadness and sexy swooning. Great job!
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review 2016-08-07 00:00
Anywhere You Are: A Return to Briarwood Novel
Anywhere You Are: A Return to Briarwood Novel - Elisabeth Barrett Ms. Barrett does well at tickling the funny bone. She delivers feel good romance that relies on the reader's ability to exercise both the brain and the heart in order to understand the true meaning of self reliance and the power of finding a place to belong. Anywhere You Are there proves that in order to understand where you are meant to be, a person has to search within themselves to discover who they are.
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review 2016-06-19 00:00
Once and Again: A Return to Briarwood Novel
Once and Again: A Return to Briarwood Novel - Elisabeth Barrett Review forthcoming.
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review 2016-02-24 01:11
Good Story and Characters
Once and Again: A Return to Briarwood Novel - Elisabeth Barrett

Jake was a teen who worked as a caddy at Briarwood Golf Club. Carolyn’s father was a very wealthy member. Jake was from the wrong side of the tracks. Somehow Jake and Carolyn were attracted to each other. But then they were caught making out and Carolyn was forced by her dad to end things. Then her dad had Jake arrested and he lost his job. Fifteen years later Carolyn’s father made some bad financial decisions and now had a lot of debt. Carolyn’s two sisters took off and would not help but Carolyn got a job at the golf club as an event planner and slowly paying her father’s debt off. Jake has bought the golf club and comes back to town. Jake never forgot Carolyn and his anger fueled his fight to remake himself and work on getting to the top. Jake and Carolyn meet and even though they try to fight it there is still something between them.

This is a good story and plot only problem there seemed to be several other subplots that I don’t believe were needed. Otherwise the story was good as I said and I recommend.

I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.

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