Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.
I’ve been meaning to read one of Shannon Stacey’s books for quite some time now, but I always ended up getting sidetracked and so she remained on my TBR list. When I saw this book on NetGalley I took a chance and requested it because it would give me the perfect excuse to finally read on of her books.
I don’t normally read series out of order but Yours to Keep sounded really interesting so I just dove into it. I think it stands alone perfectly fine, it didn’t spoiled the other books for me and the only problem I had was that sometimes I had problems keeping up with all the family members, and I think that had I read the books in orders this wouldn’t have been a problem. Apart from that I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I can’t believe it took me so long to discover this author.
In Yours to Keep we meet Emma. For the past couple of years or so she’s been living alone after her grandmother moved to Florida. Her grandmother raised her after Emma’s parents died when she was little, and now that she is in Florida she keeps worrying about Emma’s well-being. To ease her grandma’s concerns Emma comes up with a fake boyfriend, and trough a year this none-existent boyfriends becomes her fiancé. When her grandmother tells her that she is coming to visit, Emma finds herself in quite a predicament because not only is her fiancé a lie, but she has been using a very real person as a model. This real person is our hero, Sean Kowalski. He just came home from the war and is about to start a new life outside the army, the problem is that he doesn’t know where to start. When Emma comes knocking at his door asking for his help at first he thinks she is crazy, but then reluctantly agrees to be her fake-fiancé for a month and to move in with her.
Books like this are the reason why I love contemporary romance. The premise of the book is a bit out there, and it’s not the most original by any means, but Stacey makes it work and in a way even makes it unique. She has created a beautiful world populated by charming and lovable characters. That welcoming feeling that you get from small towns is always present in the book and when I was reading it I felt like I was home.
The leading characters were great and full of chemistry. Emma was a sweetheart, she was loving, hardworking and a little crazy (but I might have had an imaginary boyfriend –or two- before, so I’m not judging her). But she wasn’t a pushover and she was clever and smart. Sean on the other hand was a laidback alpha male. The best way to describe him is saying that he was “such a guy”, he liked beer, sports and all that, but he was also sweet, considerate and loving. I enjoyed all the interactions between Sean and Emma. I don’t know if this book is being advertised as a romantic comedy but it should be because every chapter there was something hilarious going on.
The secondary characters were a blast. I enjoyed the grandma, Cat, a lot. I think a huge part of why this book worked so well was because of her. She also has a bit of a love story in this book that was bittersweet, I laughed a lot but I also cried. The Kowalski clan is one of those families that you wished to be a part of and once I finished the book the first thing I did was get the other two books because I want to find out more about them.
This book was a light read, it was engaging, it didn’t have any drama, and believe it or not, it felt realistic, at least to me. This was a feel-good story and if you are in the mood for something light or just want to have some fun and forget about your everyday problems, then read it because it will make you smile. I can’t wait to read the rest of Shannon’s books and to find out which will be the next Kowalski to fall in love.
Review by Brie
Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he’s recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiancé. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother’s upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn’t like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma’s offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there’s no chance he’ll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he’s not planning to call home.
Emma’s not interested in a real relationship either; not with a man whose idea of home is wherever he drops his duffel bag. No matter how amazing his “pretend” kisses are…