3 out of 5 Stars
*I was provided a copy of Sweetly Scandalous by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*
Allie Jordan only has one year left to save money and leave Willow Creek. One year until her ex, Travis, gets out of jail and returns to their small town to fulfill his promise that Allie belongs to him. Running a romance book blog keeps Allie busy in her free time, but she hides this fact from everyone she knows since Travis demeaned her love of books.
Dr. Nick Bryant is looking to start his life over, and Willow Creek is just the place to do it. He needs to withstand a three-month probationary period, and then the retired doctor’s practice is all his. But if he’s let go before three months are up, he’ll have to return to Georgia where his almost-ex-wife is waiting for him.
Neither Allie nor Nick are looking for love in their temporary situations, but they can’t resist the pull to each other. When outside forces push them apart, they’ll each have to make some tough decisions about their future and their love.
Sweetly Scandalous is a contemporary romance set in a small town where everyone has secrets. Willow Creek is a place where everybody knows your name and knows everyone’s business. Nick is hiding the fact that he’s still married and about to be divorced because he doesn’t want the town to look unfavorably on him before his probationary period is over. Allie has secrets of her own, including exactly what happened the night her ex-boyfriend was arrested and the fact that she enjoys romance novels and runs a successful blog. The plot of a small town girl—especially the fact she was a book blogger—falling in love with a big city doctor is what enticed me to read this story.
While the story was well written in third person point of view, there were a few things that dragged it down. Multiple points of view were included, giving the reader information that would have been more effective coming from one of the main characters. The amount of time Allie and Nick spent together prior to becoming a couple was limited, providing minimal investment in their relationship. I don’t mind a story with insta-attraction, but there didn’t seem to be anything more to their relationship than physical attraction. I would have preferred more interaction between them so I could understand why they fell in love.
There was a fair amount of repetition in the book, which drew me out of the story at times—things like how Lesley, Travis’ mother and Allie and Nick’s boss, raised prices by pennies at the hardware store, how Nick couldn’t let anyone know about his marriage, and how Allie couldn’t let anyone know she was a blogger. The reader should be trusted to remember the facts, and less repetition would have opened the story up for more interactions between the main characters.
A few points were a bit cliché, including the villain admitting all their sins near the end and another character having a sudden change of heart. I also found it difficult to determine how much time had passed throughout the story as scenes jumped from one place and character to another without much transition.
Overall, the story was well-written and mostly lighthearted, other than what happened in Allie’s past, but it just wasn’t for me.