Tuesday, December 6, 2016

ARC Review: Marry Me on Main Street by LuAnn McLane

Series:     Cricket Creek #13
Pub. Date:Dec. 6, 2016
Publisher:Berkley
Length:304 pages
Source:NetGalley

This is my first read from LuAnn McLane, and I have been wanting to try her for a while. So I obviously have not read the prior Cricket Creek novels, but I felt like I tripped along just fine without feeling too lost about prior stories/characters. Other couples did pop up or get mentioned in this story, which I suspect were the main characters in prior books... but enough info was provided to give me an idea of who they were.

This was a sweet holiday romance that really put me in the Christmas spirit and made me want to curl up in a log cabin before a big ol' fire with some hot chocolate. I loved the setting of small town Kentucky, and Cricket Creek seems like such a wonderful place to live. The cutesy business names were great and you could just tell that Cricket Creek had a lot of character and a wonderful community.

This story was really a dual romance offering something for two age groups (almost-30s and almost-50s). The main heroine was Susan Quincy, the shy and awkward owner of a thrift shop named Rhyme and Reason. Susan's klutzy and awkward behavior was endearing and had me laughing out loud at times. She did borrow trouble unnecessarily and sometimes her insecurities were a bit much, but she was a genuinely good person that you couldn't really not like. Susan's assistant at Rhyme and Reason, Betsy Brock, was a secondary character that was also getting romantically involved. Betsy was a single mom that was a firecracker for the most part, but also had some insecurities from her failed marriage. Now that her daughter is off in college, Betsy was feeling lonely and had a little crush on the business owner next door. However, Betsy didn't think she could measure up to her crush's younger ex-wife and his former big city life and education. Betsy's outgoing nature was a good counterpoint to Susan's shyness, and I liked that they were paired together as friends and co-workers.

The main hero was Danny Mayfield, a good ol' down-home chivalrous country boy. He suffered from middle child syndrome and was having a bit of an existential crisis... thinking that he was the unsuccessful one in the family, but also being afraid to get out there and try his own thing. I liked that he was a talented wood worker, and his talent totally fit into the town of Cricket Creek. I want one of his rocking chairs! Danny was dedicated to his family. but felt guilty that his work with and for them left him feeling unfulfilled. He really thought that he would have his life figured out by the time he was 30, and I could relate to that. The secondary male character paired up with Betsy was John Clark, former big city lawyer who returned to his hometown and opened up a deli called Ham Good Sandwich. John was more of a minor character, but he was developed quite well. I could also relate to him burning out on the law and leaving the big city behind... I often think that I would love to move to a small town where its not so peopley!

Both romances were sweet enough to give you a tooth ache and are not something I normally read, but I found that I enjoyed this one. While the insecurities of all the characters piling up was somewhat overwhelming, they were otherwise likable and engaging and seemed like real people you would meet in everyday life. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes uncomplicated writing, small town life and holiday settings.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Berkley.