Title: Carly’s Rule by Vickie King
The Braddock’s Series Book One
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 174 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Can they find a second chance for love?
It’s been years since their teenage romance broke her heart and he disappeared from her life. Now Luke Donovan walks into Carly Braddock’s West Virginia bakery, and all the old feelings resurface. He’s in town for his work as a preservation specialist hired by the local historical society—but also to fix his relationship with his rebellious daughter, whom Carly doesn’t know exists—until now. With so much baggage between them and so many bittersweet memories, can she break the rule she created to protect her heart?
The first installment in Vickie King’s The Braddock’s series, Carly’s Rule is a sweet and heartwarming second chance at love romance. Fourteen years after their teenage romance suddenly ended, Carly Braddock and Luke Donovan rekindle their relationship but will secrets tear them apart?
Following the breakup of a long term romance, Carly returns to her hometown where she now owns Sugar Plums, a thriving bakery business. She is close to her family and enjoys spending time with her brothers and various nieces and nephews. Carly has not seen Luke since he abruptly left town with no explanation years earlier but when he unexpectedly re-enters her life, will she be willing to risk her heart again?
Carly and Luke are realistic and well-drawn characters. They are both still dealing with the emotional baggage from their pasts and they are each harboring some pretty serious secrets. Carly’s revelation stems from their failed teenage romance while Luke’s is pretty much a deal breaker for Carly. Carly calls a halt to their reconciliation but an unexpected crisis and surprising conversations provide Carly and Luke with new perspectives on some of their long held beliefs.
The conflict between Luke and Carly is believable and their responses to their current situation ring true. They face their problems head on with maturity and very little angst. Despite the nature of their issues, there is surprisingly little recrimination from either of them with Luke and Carly accepting their fair share of the blame for their earlier break up. It is very refreshing to see each of the characters reflect on past mistakes with such honesty and admit their actions or inactions are partially to blame for the failure of their previous relationship.
Carly’s Rule is an easy to read and engrossing novel. Carly and Luke are well-developed and sympathetic characters and it is delightful to watch their romance unfold. Vickie King puts a fresh spin on familiar storyline and the resulting story is an absolute joy to read. The introduction of Carly’s brother, Dusty, adroitly sets up the next installment of The Braddock’s series and I am eagerly anticipating the release of his story early next year.