Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Summer Deal by Jill Shalvis
Narrator: Erin Mallon
Series: Wildstone #5
Published by HarperAudio on June 2, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Life Fiction
Length: 7 hours, 58 minutes
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Brynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that's left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone.
And then there's Kinsey Davis who, after battling serious health issues her entire 29 years of life, is tired of hoping for...well, anything. She's fierce, tough, and pretty much the opposite of Brynn except for one thing: They're half-sisters. Kinsey is keeping this bombshell, and a few others as well. Long-time frenemies from summer camp, there's no way she's going to tell Brynn they're related.
But then, Brynn runs into Kinsey's lifelong best friend, Eli, renewing a childhood crush. He's still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell. When he gets her to agree to a summer-time deal to trust him to do right by her, no matter what, she never dreams it'll result in finding a piece of herself she didn't even know was missing. She could have a sister, love, and a future - if she can only learn to let go of the past.
As the long days of summer wind down, the three of them must discover if forgiveness is enough to grasp the unconditional love that's right in front of them
The books in the Wildstone series don’t seem to have much connection as far as characters or even locations, so you don’t really have to read them in order. There is a romance or two in each, with much more of a life fiction feel.
The start is a common one where a lady is down on her luck, almost broke, lost her job/ boyfriend / apartment and comes home to a small town to regroup. Brynn always felt a bit different with two Moms and no sports ability. She was picked on at camp by Kinsey who was good friends with Eli. Eli was her crush. He was always nice to her. Brynn runs into Eli and she ends up renting a room at his house for the summer, until she finds out Kinsey will be another roommate.
Brynn was always a good friend and a kind person. I love seeing her efforts with teaching kindergarten children. However, Brynn needs to have a bit more confidence in her choices. I loved watching her grow as she learned to do stand up for herself a bit more with Kinsey who borders on rude at times. I cried with her when one of them helped her or did something for her since usually that would only be her parents.
It isn’t easy to like Kinsey, but I can’t imagine I would be too cheery if I was sick as much as she was. It is easy to admire how tough she is. It was great to see her open up and be vulnerable with those she loved.
Eli is a gem. He is, not unlike Brynn, kind and supportive of his collection of strays Unlike the guys Brynn has dated, he has her back. If Eli says he will do something he does. He does sometimes get into a jam between Brynn and Kinsey with secrets which aren’t his to tell.
The characters were well developed and I enjoyed their progression. They had all been hurt so trust came slowly. There was plenty of heart, with some humor and heat which are usual for this author. Jill Shalvis is a favorite.
Erin Mallon is a popular narrator and I have heard her throughout this series. I find her female voices a bit sharp. The male and female voices are distinct but sometimes I think a voice is someone from another book. I really enjoy the husky quality of her male voices. I was able to listen at my normal 1.5x speed.
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