Title: Jar of Dreams by Liz Flaherty
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 74,000 words
Book Rating: A
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
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?
Liz Flaherty is, hands down, one of my favorite authors. She has an amazing ability to weave together stories that touch the heart as her characters overcome tragic losses and find happiness. Her latest release, Jar of Dreams is a poignant yet humorous novel that is heartwarming and sweetly romantic.
Lucy Dolan and Boone Brennan have experienced more than their fair share of tragedy in their lives. Instead of sinking into the depths of despair, they both maintain cheerful outlooks and move on with their lives. Their losses provide them a common bond and when their budding relationship sneaks up on them, Lucy and Boone must come to terms with their pasts before they can embrace their future.
What I like most about Ms. Flaherty’s characters is how optimistic they are despite the adversity in their lives. Lucy is literally beginning her life over in a new place with total strangers, yet she maintains a positive attitude. Yes, her hopefulness occasionally falters, but she quickly regains her equilibrium and continues working toward her goals. Lucy does not let her fears control her future and she is quite willing to risk her heart for a shot at happiness.
Boone is an endearing protagonist and my heart just ached for him as he worked through his grief. He is protective of his loved ones and extremely loyal, but he also does not hesitate to disagree with them when needed. Boone’s confrontation with his best friend Crockett forces him to re-examine his perception of past events and brings a measure of much needed peace their friendship.
Lucy and Boone’s relationship grows naturally out of their newfound friendship. Their romance builds slowly and I loved watching them get to know one another. Their dates are sweet, playful and full of friendly banter. Their sex scenes are sensual without being graphic.
The secondary cast of characters is quirky and vastly appealing. Aunt Gert is the heart and soul of the story and I want to be just like her when I grow up :). She is spunky, independent and she resists everyone’s efforts to coddle her (but she does give in gracefully on occasion). Boone’s sister, Kelly, is prickly and deeply suspicious of Lucy. Watching their friendship flourish is easily one of the richest and most satisfying aspects of the storyline. Crockett is working through his own issues and since they are not fully resolved by the conclusion of the novel, I am hopeful that Ms. Flaherty will bring us his story in the future.
Jar of Dreams is another captivating and emotional novel that fans of contemporary romances will not want to miss. It is a charming story of family, healing, and love that will resonate will readers. Liz Flaherty consistently delivers realistic stories that will make you laugh, cry and rejoice as the characters find their happily ever afters.