Review copy was received from Library, NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Backup Plan by Jill Shalvis
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Series: Sunrise Cove #3
Published by HarperAudio, William Morrow on January 17, 2023
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Life Fiction
Length: 9 hours, 14 minutes
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, NetGalley
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
When Alice receives a call about an unexpected windfall, she’s stunned to learn the gift is a falling-apart-at-the-seams old Wild West B&B she once considered home—and she’s inherited it along with two strangers. Except they weren’t always strangers. Once upon a time, they were friends. One is her ex-BFF Lauren. The other is Knox, the only guy to ever break her heart, all while never even knowing she existed.
It turns out their lives are unknowingly entangled because they once separately helped the same woman without expecting anything in return. Years later, Alice, Lauren, and Knox are broken in their own way, with their own history—and secrets— causing them to start out on the wrong foot with each other. But according to the will, they must renovate and be partners in the inn for one year or else lose their inheritance.
The Sunrise Cove series continues but the books are completely standalones. Three twenty-somethings who knew each other 5-10 years ago are brought back together when Eleanor dies. Lauren is her estranged grand niece. Knox is the son of her former house cleaner. Alice is the daughter of a car mechanic, and who ran a show at the Inn back in the day. Knox is about 4 years older than Lauren and Alice who were best friends.
Lauren still lives here in town and is a librarian. Alice has done a bunch of things and is working at a lumber yard currently. Knox is a successful contractor. They decide to renovate the old Inn, afterward they can sell or hire managers. Knox and Alice have plenty of hands-on skills. Lauren does the books, and some decorating.
We mostly get Alice’s point of view. She has lost everyone, one way or another, starting at an early age. She doesn’t want to stay and renovate the Inn, as the will directs, because then she knows she will care about Knox and Lauren, who won’t care about her, and will move on after the month.
The three have a great time doing the renovation and become closer, in spite of their various personal issues, and secrets. I love how the author develops her characters with such realistic feelings and actions. I know the three of them care about each other, even if they don’t always know it or believe it. They don’t want to hurt each other. I loved seeing them become closer and move past issues. For only a month, they all grew personally with facing their fears and challenges.
I felt everything and loved the connections they built with each other and the community. There was plenty of humor with the dog, Pickle and a few personal foibles. The epilogue takes us two years into the future and is very satisfying.
I think this is the first series with Andi Arndt narrating a Jill Shalvis book, but I love her work. There is a very small number of characters in this one and they were distinct enough. The men’s voices a bit lower and Knox especially a bit husky. I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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