A young painter, Lily has reached a crossroads in her life. Her career hasn't taken off, her best friend may no longer be the trusted friend she thought, her boyfriend is a disappointment, and now she can't keep up with the rising cost of living in the city. With no one to turn to, Lily is forced to move from her beloved apartment, but while packing she comes across a piece of mail that had slipped to the back of her junk drawer: a letter detailing further action needed to finalize the annulment of a quickie Vegas wedding. Ten years ago!
Lily decides it's time to turn over a new leaf and the first item on her list of things to fix is getting the annulment... but you can't just send a reply ten years later, "Hey by the way we are still married." This is something that must be addressed in person. Lily takes to the road to track down her husband - the charming, fun, and sexy man she connected with all those years ago - Ben Hutchinson.
Ben Hutchinson left a wealthy dot-com lifestyle behind to return home to his family and the small town he loves, Minnow Bay. He's been living off the grid and the last thing he expects is a wife he didn't know he had to show up on his doorstep.
By chance, Lily arrives at the magical Minnow Bay Inn, and there she will discover not just a place to lay her head, but new friends, a thriving art community, and maybe even the love of her life.
I loved this. I adored this. From basically the first pages, this book made me happy and was just uplifting to read. Even when Lily was making horrible choices, reading about her was somehow comforting.
Normally characters who are poor with finances really stress me out, but Lily was such an optimist and so set on pursuing her dreams that I couldn't help loving her anyway. It's definitely challenging to go to art school in today's society, so it was cool to see one girl going and becoming a successful lawyer after art school while Lily became a starving artist but managed to remain relatively happy.
There was a lot of emphasis on sticking up for oneself and also on generosity. Lily was one of those people it seemed who had been extremely giving to the people in her life for a long while but didn't think highly enough of herself to really ask for much in return until the situation was dire. I relate a lot, and found myself realising that I've been in Lily's shoes a few times.
I loved the descriptions of the inn at which Lily stayed in Minnow Bay, and as a city girl myself, seeing her attachment to Chicago felt very realistic. There were some really beautifully written scenes, some that even made me wish it was winter (a strange thing after the snow I've been having!)
There wasn't a terrible amount of romance which made what there was even more intense and special--my heart was in my throat at multiple points. I can't imagine getting inebriated enough to marry someone let alone being calm enough to forget having done so, which made this premise feel unlikely but kept it a lot of fun. Seeing how the two had changed
I'm not sure what exactly about this book made me love it so much--perhaps it was reading it during a stressful period of worrying about jobs or perhaps it was that I wasn't sleep deprived for once so I happily stayed up half the night to read this--but it really stood out to me as a genuinely happyifying novel.
Highly recommend this for anyone who needs an uplifting book or who enjoys women's literature.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.