I can’t think of who it was that directed me to this title, but I decided to request if from NetGalley and here’s my review:
Perfect for readers of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, this sizzling romance tells the story of a sexy small-town mayor and a notorious “bad girl,” who discover that home really is where the heart is.
Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography. Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.
Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing. Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.
Reading the premise, this book sounded like an upgraded Hallmark movie. Then I started reading it and it read like an upgraded Hallmark movie.
And then things changed.
The book alternated 3rd person POVs between Jackson Davies and Monica Appleby. I’m normally not a fan of alternating POVs, but when it’s 3rd person the switch is not very pronounced.
A struggling small town in Arkansas, a celebrity wild child turned writer, a young and desperate mayor, and a lot of broken hearts are the various parts of the plot.
Monica arrives in town to write a nonfiction about her father’s murder when she was a young child. Jackson is struggling personally with his younger sister and professionally to save his town. When a morning show hosts a contest to find a small town in the US where a factory will be opened, immediately Jackson believes winning the contest will be the solution to all his problems. With his sister moving on to college, she won’t be his responsibility anymore and he will have his chance at life. With the town financially secure he can step down as mayor and leave with a clean conscience.
But then Monica shows up the very same week the show comes to visit his town, and he feels her purpose there and being a celebrity will damage the town’s chances.
Monica herself just wants to be left alone and do her research, write the book and go on running away from herself.
I had a “what the hell” moment when I turned the page and read a chapter that felt disconnected from the story. The next chapter connected it to the plot, but there should have been a segue to new scene (which was in a new POV altogether!).
Wild Child is very well written, filled with cute and giggle worthy parts, as well as some tense and frustrating moments. A story that started pretty formulated, Wild Child surprised me for the better when I found myself rather emotionally invested and genuinely wanted a happily ever after for all involved. And the HEA came, for those who deserved it.
Thank you NetGalley and Bantam Books for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.