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It’s been a while since I last reviewed a book. Things have been hectic—we moved from Honolulu to Seattle—and it’s been a whole process getting moved and also settled. I’ve missed this space and I’ve missed writing reviews and I’m so excited to be back now that I’m all settled in. It feels only right that my first review in months is of a favorite author of mine.
Sarah Hogle’s debut, You Deserve Each Other, was one of my favorite books in both 2019 and 2020 (yes, I read it twice, and I know I’m going to read it a million more times) and is definitely up there as one of my favorite rom-coms of all time. With that in mind, you can see why I was so anxious and excited for Hogle’s follow-up, Twice Shy.
Maybell Parrish works a thankless job at a resort in Tennessee, she doesn’t have any real friends (she doesn’t even have friends who won’t catfish her), and she’s only ever felt loved and part of a family once, years ago, when she spent the summer at her great-aunt Violet’s beautiful estate in the Smokies, Falling Stars. With reality leaving her wanting, Maybell spends most of her waking hours in her daydream—Maybell’s Coffee Shop AU.
When Violet passes away and leaves Falling Stars to Maybell, Maybell jumps at the chance to start fresh and make a home at the only place she’s ever truly felt like she belonged. Maybell’s excitement is short-lived, however, when she arrives to find that, not only is the house falling apart, but her aunt also bequeathed Falling Stars to Wesley Koehler, the estate’s very hot but very grumpy groundskeeper.
If you enjoyed You Deserve Each Other, you’ll enjoy Twice Shy. That being said, keep in mind that they’re two different books. Where You Deserve Each Other was more humorous and quick, Twice Shy was more emotional and sentimental. (It was still very funny!) And if you enjoy the grumpy/sunshine trope, you’ll love it!
Maybell is painfully romantic, sensitive, and quirky. I generally don’t gravitate towards those types of characters; I’m still working on my post-manic-pixie-dream-girl-era anxiety and I tend to find quirky, daydreamer types to be too much (of what, I don’t know, I just often find them to be too much). Still, I adored Maybell. Unlike so many of the quirky-girl, MPDGs of the (thankfully) bygone 2000s, Maybell was whimsical but she was also earnest and relatable. Ultimately, I think this is one of my favorite aspects of Hogle’s writing—her ability to convey relatable and resonant emotions in the loveliest of ways.
If you’re looking for a sweet, earnest, and slow-burn romance, with enough humor to keep it from feeling too saccharine, you need to read Twice Shy. Wesley and Maybell were so dear that, on multiple occasions, I wanted to just grab them up in the biggest hug (and I’m generally NOT a hugger, so that’s really saying something).
Sarah Hogle remains high on my list of auto-buy romance authors and romance authors to watch. I’m already so excited to see what she comes up with next!