Title: The Girl Next Door
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 272 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: In spite of a slow start, I warmed up to this sweet, tropey, girl-next-door romance, and enjoyed watching Iris and Jude find their happily ever after.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: ris Turner hightailed it out of Salty Cove, Maine, without so much as a backward glance. Which is why finding herself back in her hometown—in her childhood bedroom, no less—has the normally upbeat Iris feeling a bit down and out. Her spirits get a much-needed lift, though, at the sight of the sexy girl next door.
No one knows why Jude Wicks is back in Salty Cove, and that’s just how she likes it. Jude never imagined she’d be once again living in her parents’ house, never mind hauling lobster like a local. But the solitude is just what she needs—until Iris tempts her to open up.
A no-strings summer fling seems like the perfect distraction for both women. Jude rides a motorcycle, kisses hard and gives Iris the perfect distraction from her tangled mess of a life. But come September, Iris is still determined to get out of this zero-stoplight town.
That is, unless Jude can give her a reason to stay…
Review: Author Chelsea M. Cameron says she is an author of “tropetastic romance”. Using The Girl Next Door as a yardstick, I’d say that’s pretty conclusively true. This sweet, small-town-girl-next-door love story—the first in Carina Press’s new Carina Adores line—offers up some Hallmark movie style feels with the happily ever after romance readers expect.
Iris Turner and Jude Wicks’ love story is one of opposites attract, but it’s also one of hurt and comfort which added a touch of pathos to the development of their relationship. Iris has moved back to Salty Cove, Maine—the place she’d left and vowed never to return—to get back on her feet again after a disappointing setback. The high cost of living in Boston was more than she could manage, and so she’s had to swallow her pride and return to her childhood bedroom in her parents’ home until she can save enough money and find the right job in Boston to move back again. Preferably ASAP.
Why Jude has moved back to Salty Cove is teased out over time, but there is little doubt it was something impactful that instigated her return. The most anyone seems to know about her is that her parents gave her their house when they retired to Florida, she’s a lobsterman, and she prefers to be left alone. That is, until Iris and her lovable dog Dolly Parton infiltrate Jude’s defenses and gradually insinuate themselves in her life.
There’s enough pining in the build-up of Iris and Jude’s relationship to categorize this as a slow-burn romance, even if the story takes place in a relatively short period of time. It’s clear they’re attracted to each other—we see it more so in Iris than Jude at the outset—but Jude is carrying the weight of a heartbreak that weighs so heavily on her she’s vowed never to love someone, anyone, again. She’s in clear self-preservation mode and it’s her standoffish nature that makes it difficult to know her, let alone warm up to her, for a good while. This is purposeful but was not necessarily helpful in making an emotional connection to her character. I did, eventually, it just took some time. Thankfully, Iris and Dolly were there to be endearing and keep me engaged and invested until the turning point in the romance, when Jude finally allows herself to be emotionally vulnerable to Iris. There were also some instances where I felt that the showing of certain things would have been helpful in supporting their attraction to each other. For example, Jude tells readers Iris is funny, but if Iris was ever funny on page, I didn’t catch it. She was sweetly awkward at times, no doubt, but not necessarily comical, and I’d have loved to see some of that humor coming shining through.
As is par for the romantic course, no-strings-attached sex always means there will be strings attached, and I was glad when Jude was able to trust herself, and Iris, enough to accept that she’d fallen in love with the girl next door. Theirs is a story about reclaiming joy, about belonging, about giving yourself permission to be happy, and that grabbing hold of a new love doesn’t mean forgetting how lucky you are it has been gifted to you more than once in a lifetime. It’s not about flashy drama or grand gestures. It’s is a simple story about finding home in a person as well as a place. In spite of a slow start, I warmed up to this sweet, tropey romance, and enjoyed watching Iris and Jude find their happily ever after.
You can buy The Girl Next Door here:
[zilla_button url=”https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488076282_the-girl-next-door.html” style=”black” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Carina Press [/zilla_button][zilla_button url=”https://books2read.com/The-Girl-Next-Door-Cameron” style=”black” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon & Other eTailers [/zilla_button]