I'm still fighting a book slump, and I need fluff. Industrial grade fluff. This fit the bill pretty perfectly.
Small town America, seventh daughter of the town's founding family, all of whom have 'gifts', is the town librarian and the books talk to her. And nobody tries to medicate her, because it's magical realism. A newcomer with a boulder on her shoulder comes to town and the books tell Sarah that miss-cranky pants is going to save the town.
I'm being a little snarky, which isn't fair to the book. Even though the story is entirely predictable, it's well written. Once I started it I was sucked into the magical little town of Dove Pond, and the characters all felt more real and well-adjusted than most of reality at the moment, so while it wasn't high literature, it was an absolutely perfect antidote to current events.
This was a great novella that should be read before the longer novel taking place in Dove Pond "The Book Charmer". The main reason why I gave it four stars is once again Hawkins seems to do this weird gaps between the last chapter and her epilogue. We jump ahead to an event, but it's implied something else has gone on that was a trial. Since this wasn't followed up on in the longer novel that I just read, it's weird. I don't know if it will be followed up on or referenced in the next book in the series, "A Cup of Silver Linings" but if that is how long Hawkins is going to wait to follow up on things, it's going to be an issue for readers of this series.
"Love in the Afternoon" has Ava Dove on the periphery of the story, while the novella follows widower Sofia Rodriguez and her son Noah who have recently moved to Dove Pond. Sofia has an affinity for plants and working for Ava to help her out with her tea making business is perfect for her. Ava is also allowing her to rent a home and be mindful of trying to accommodate her son Noah who has Asperger's. Ava's next door neighbor Jake though is not what she is expecting. A computer programmer who seems to live in a home swallowed up by roses, she is worried when her son starts to spend time with him. However, Jake and Sofia both start to feel something more is possible between them and they get a little assistance from a ghost. Yep you read that right.
So I loved all of the characters, even Jake's ghost (no spoilers). It was a heart-warming story and I loved how Jake slowly came out of his shell and realized that he wanted to pursue something with Sofia. And I liked how Sofia was upfront about her former marriage and what she was willing to put up with in the future. I maybe teared up a bit at a game that Jake created that gave Sofia something she talks to him about in a separate conversation.
The ending was kind of a leap in my mind and I have to say that though this is called the Dove Pond series, we don't seem to be focusing too much on the sisters. I hope the next book does.
Wow. This was so good. I am so happy that Hawkins has turned this into a series because I fell in love with all of the residents of Dove Pond, especially Sarah Dove.
The book starts off being about her and then we switch gears to follow a new resident of Dove Pond, Grace Wheeler and her family. We don't know what it is about Grace, but apparently one of the books that talks to Sarah Dove tells her that Grace is going to be important to Dove Pond and needs to stay forever. Too bad that Grace has plans to move back to Asheville, North Carolina, when she finishes her year stint working for the mayor's office.
I hope the next book gets more into Sarah and what causes her to run away from the local sheriff. We hear bits and pieces here and there, but I want more. I loved how Sarah is happy and is able to talk to books. That she always knows the book that has to go to people in town. Her sister Ava can grow anything and seems to have an affinity for gardens. It seems all of the Doves have special abilities that I can't wait to read more about.
Grace though had the opposite growing up that Sarah did though. Grace and her sister Hannah were raised in the foster care system until they finally gotten taken in by a woman called Mama G. What is weird though is that Mama G is able to sense something about children and even adults and realizes that there is something about Hannah, but she's going to take them both in. We fast forward to present times and Grace is moving to Dove Pond with Mama G and her sister's child. Grace has a lot of anger built up in her that she thought she put behind her, but now it's front and center again. All she wants to do is put her time in for a year and get out of Dove Pond. Too bad that Sarah is focused on making her, her friend and having her stay.
I thought the other characters like Trav, Ava, Blake, (I am forgetting scores) gave this book so much heart. I loved Trav's backstory and how it tied neatly into something that Grace was going through too.
The setting of Dove Pond sounds magical. A small southern town that is in danger of becoming a ghost town soon if something doesn't help pull things around. I loved that everyone knew each other's names and stories and no one thought they were odd. I loved the fact that the mayor was super useless and only wanted the position so he could go fishing.
The flow worked nicely going back and forth between Sarah, Grace, and Trav. I think though next time it should just be two people instead of three. Not that it didn't work here, but I found myself wanting to get back to Sarah's sections more and then I wanted to be back in Grace's more and then wanting to get back to Trav. Too much was happening (in a good way).
The ending was lovely though a bit abrupt. I think it could have been a bit smoother. Other than that, what a wonderful book!