For as long as she can remember, Lucy Dolan has been jotting down her hopes on slips of paper and saving them in a pickle jar—her jar of dreams. It was the first thing she saved when the beloved family diner went up in flames, and it’s safely buckled in her beat-up minivan when she lands in Taft, Indiana, to start over. She rents a room and goes into business with her landlady, but then Gert’s nephew comes charging in to “rescue” his aunt.
Boone Brennan will be damned if he’ll let Lucy take advantage of Aunt Gert, who raised him and his sister. Believing that she’s just passing through, he’s deeply suspicious of her—despite the sparks that fly between them.
Just as Boone and Lucy are starting to open up to each other, a series of fires throws Lucy under suspicion. Boone wants to trust her and his feelings, but with the whole town against her, will he stay by her side? Or will Lucy move on and find another place to make her dreams come true?
I have never read anything by Liz Flaherty before, and after hearing some great things about her previous book, I put in a request for Jar of Dreams.
The praise that others have given to Ms Flaherty is much deserved. This is a story that is both deeply emotional and humorous. There is a feeling I got from this book that the characters maintain a real sense of enthusiasm about life, despite what is so often thrown at them. This is particularly true for Boone and Lucy.
Something I really liked was that the hero Boone, while acknowledging his feelings for Lucy, doesn’t ignore his previous marriage as if it had never occurred. He still loved his late wife. This doesn’t make his love for Lucy any less, it just shows (at least to me) that he was lucky enough to find love again.
Lucy has not let her life circumstances define her. She’s dealt with losing both parents, one suddenly and one in a slow, inexorable fashion. She’s positive in the face of this and is determined to start her life afresh. I love that Lucy isn’t and doesn’t want to be a victim.
I like that their romance developed from their friendship, on a slow burn. It’s far from explicit, but the love scenes are still very sensual and allow you to imagine what happens rather than be left bewildered on the other side of a closed door.
A small gripe: the back cover blurb makes it sound as if Boone will stop at nothing to prevent Lucy from taking perceived advantage of Gert, where as in the book, Boone takes her story at face value and believes in her rather quickly. It’s his sister Kelly that is the disbeliever.
The supporting characters were great, and added to rather than subtracted from the story. Gert and Sims were a scream, and I really hope there is a story for Crockett. I would totally read that.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release date: 14 January 2013
Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.