Summary of the book:
Alice Rose Barnes, who chooses to go by Rose, has a history of trauma that has made her wary of trusting others. She wins the lottery, which leads to a sudden influx of people trying to connect with her due to her newfound wealth. Feeling overwhelmed and unsafe, she decides to escape her old life and start fresh in Galway, NC, under a new identity.
In Galway, she manages to build a new life for herself, forming friendships and integrating into the community while keeping her lottery winnings a secret. Her interactions with the grumpy carpenter she hired to reno her new house, Angus Drummond, lead to an unexpected relationship. Angus is someone who values honesty and authenticity, which attracts Rose despite her decision to hide her millionaire status.
As the story unfolds, Angus helps Rose open up about her past trauma, and their relationship gradually evolves from initial tension to a more romantic connection. At the same time, Angus’s own challenges, particularly related to his experiences as a military veteran, are explored, adding depth to his character.
The novel addresses themes of trust, healing from past wounds, the impact of personal history on relationships, and the importance of authenticity in forming meaningful connections. The “slow burn” of their relationship suggests a realistic development of their feelings over time, while the gradual revelation of their secrets adds intrigue and emotional depth to the plot.
This book was so amazing. I have read other books by this publisher, and they have not hit me like his. I loved the setup. I loved the setting. I loved the main characters so much. I love the secondary characters. It was impossible for me to find major fault with this one. It is a cozy, charming read with deep issues addressed and dealt with in ways that seem realistic and sweet. Can’t wait t read more from this debut author.
Rose’s trauma is believable and relatable. As a plus-size woman and someone bullied in school, I found myself cheering her on so hard. I wanted to see her move past her trauma and find the connections she was looking for. While I understood why she was so leery to disclose her lottery winnings, I knew that it would be the downfall of her relationship with Angus. I loved Angus; he is my perfect book MMC. But Angus has some culpability here as well. He is so blinded by his own issues that he is not as forthcoming with Rose as he needs to be for her to see how important the absolute truth is to him.
As for secondary characters, I hate the ones Moher wants me to hate and love the ones that are so refreshingly kind and sweet and accepting of Rose.
Tropes and Triggers:
Slow burn, small town. Enemies to Friends to Lovers, Grumpy/sunshine, Forced Proximity
fatphobia, death, sexual assault/rape, bullying, PTSD, suicide (mentioned).
“Kissing Angus was… a lovely way of getting to know my sweet friend better. How can a man who could break me in half with his hands be so incredibly gentle? He tasted like… security and spice. And he held me like I was treasure. Wanted you to feel safe. Lordy.”
“There’s not a damn thing missing from you, Rosie. You’re one of the most complete people I know.”