★★★★★#BayouBeloved #NetGalley @AuthorLexiBlake
So many feelings generated in this latest book in the Bayou series. I am in love with this series. Each on of these generate feelings of hopelessness and displacement which then moves into character growth and wonderful finding one's place in the world. This can be read as a standalone. I still recommend reading all the previous books in this series. Reading the previous books helps build a better picture of this quaint small town with big ideals.
Quaid Havery is now the main focus of this book. He has been the side kick and buddy of several men in the previous books. He comes across as a good ole boy lawyer with his family background as well as how he manages his case loads. It is definitely not a New York type litigation. He is going through the motions and set with his lot in life. It is not a bad life but it isn't his passion. Along comes Jayna Cardet. Whilst Quaid may not remember Jayna, she certainly remembers him.
The set up of this story is pretty straight forward with a second chance romance. Some may quibble that this is a cliche set up. That may be. I would like to point out that the way Ms. Blake creates her characters and how the world is not black and white that makes these romances so good for me. I am at first wincing at Jayna's aggressive stance. I completely understand where she is coming from, trying to be taken seriously and following the business rules as she knows it. But Papillon is not a large urban city. It is a small town reminiscent of Mayberry. I loved the Andy Griffith Show growing up. This world Ms. Blake builds hearkens to that era with a modern twist.
Jayna's entry back to her hometown is laden with past hurts. Coming home victorious is one thing; returning after being wrongfully beaten down is another. As the story unfolds, I'm feeling less frustrated and embarrassed for Jayna. Instead I'm feeling sad and angry at what she has suffered. Quaid is seeing Jayne in a new light as he learns how the girl he conveniently forgotten is someone who is unforgettable. I love it. Quaid's character is also hiding his light under a bushel and as he exposes his dreams to Jayna, they start to grow closer together.
For me, this entire series is a nod to how a caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. There is a hard work and effort in order to become this butterfly and each of the characters go through their own painful yet rewarding metamorphose. Character progression stories are highly appealing to me and always give me a feel good that lingers. This romance pushes endorphins through me as I am taken through various emotions and end with a satisfying happily ever after. I grew to love these characters. I love how they deal with their difficult family members. The second chance for love, redemption, and understanding is heartwarming. This romance is highly recommended to readers who enjoy excellent character development, sweet world-building, and a Hallmark-esque plot.
*provided by NetGalley