I was thrilled to accept this book for review because it seemed perfect for me. I love happy books and there’s not much happier than someone moving to a beautiful place and finding a life they love. I was also excited about the potential for character growth. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out for me. The focus on dating was greater than I expected from the description. I’ve never been especially boy-obsessed and just couldn’t like our insecure, boy-crazy main character. Her attempts at dating ended badly in every cliched way possible. Although I believe the main character might have gotten to know these men well enough to judge them, I didn’t. They all felt like very poorly developed characters to me. Although the main character becomes more confident, the turning point where she realizes she might be attractive comes when she notices that the women in Napa Valley are less pulled together than those in LA. Her gain in self-confidence at the expense of putting down others didn’t endear her to me.
I had some problems with the writing as well. I don’t always mind brand names in books, but in this case, they pulled me out of the story because I was always surprised by them. There were a handful of instances where a similar sounding but clearly incorrect word was used in a sentence. And the constant listing of wine names and flavors got old fast. This surprised me because I expected to like learning about wine, but what I learned was too specific to be helpful to me. I didn’t love the plot either, because there was very little conflict. Even the biggest problems were generally resolved a few paragraphs after they started. In general, the main character doesn’t even do anything to solve the problems; they simply resolve themselves.
Having accepted this book for review and having had high hopes for it, I hate to give it a bad review. However, the major problems I had with the main character, the plot, and the writing made anything else impossible. That said, I do think this book could work better for someone else. Many of the goodreads reviews are very positive and I think if someone picked this up expecting the focus on dating, I think they might enjoy it much more than I did.This review first published on Doing Dewey.