Review: Meant to Be (Sweetbriar Cove Book 1) by Melody Grace

FF’s Star Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

“She knew all her fans thought she was having breathless affairs, or settled with the man of her dreams, but the woman in Seat 12B couldn’t have been further from the truth – especially now.” That’s the Poppy Somerville, the cute romance author with millions of consecrated readers in her pocket who has a belief in love uncanny to most. Meant to Be, the first of the Sweetbriar Cove series, is set in Cape Cod, making it a perfect romance novel to enjoy during the summer.

A famous author, Poppy Somerville had read a romance novel once and became a believer in soulmates. Poppy’s decision to break a wedding off two weeks prior to her flight to her aunt’s beach cottage on Cape Cod will prove to be the ultimate test to her theory. Even if she doesn’t know it yet. Next door to her aunt’s cottage, Cooper Nicholson is doing construction work. Poppy knows him. The boy who used to call her “pipsqueak”. A hot man as an adult, he calls her by that nickname again. He can’t help but notice how beautiful Poppy has become. Poppy has to write a book. Cooper does his construction work. Their first date goes well. A relationship looks possible, but the question remains: are they meant to be?

Cooper once had plans while studying engineering all the way in Boston. After graduation, he wanted to live in a city where his neighbors wouldn’t know everything about his business. Most people who move out of small towns for a life in a big city do it for precisely that reason. To live in a place where people don’t know so much about them. Before Cooper starts viewing Sweetbriar Cove as a place that would look after him, he would have to loose something dear to him and that is his father who had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. While he might’ve become more of a community member, one thing he hasn’t done is having gone looking for love. Poppy gives him a reason to.

I enjoyed reading through the initial argument between Poppy and Cooper about their different takes on love. I thought this was an important factor of the book since it’s title is “Meant to Be”, suggesting two souls that are completely compatible with each other. Owen, the husband that Poppy almost had, makes a short appearance just after Poppy and Cooper’s first date. Believe you me, I just couldn’t resist letting out that tornado of a sigh of a relief while tempestuously thinking, “Owen, get out of the picture so that my man Cooper can be happy with Poppy already!”

Settled by early English settlers, Sweetbriar Cove is described as being a town that has a way of making someone feel right at home. My first impression of the town was that it was just another small town where people talked about everybody and everybody knew everyone. Cooper’s background concerning his return to the town offers a better feel for what it’s like to live in this town. Also, his bumping into an old friend in a store that gets into his love life right away is a nice illustration by the author of small town living. You just never know who you’re going to bump into and news seems to travel fast around here. The people can also not be blamed because as Poppy who has lived three years in a city apartment without ever getting to learn her neighbor’s name is told, she is the mysterious outsider while everybody loves Cooper.

That one amazing and sizzling first night that Poppy and Cooper spends together might be a point scored for Poppy, but now she is left wondering about their future. And she finds it difficult to do. It is for precisely this reason that it came as a surprise to me when Poppy told June, her aunt, not to objectify her boyfriend. Seemed to me that she was rather possessive of a guy she wasn’t really sure of. It seems like these two are headed for good things only, but then Cooper sees Poppy talking with the last person on earth he would expect her to talk to.

The writing is good, but I did stumble a bit when Grace mistakenly wrote “Poppy took a moment for her brain to function” at one point. She definitely should’ve ended that last bit with “for her brain to start functioning again.” When Owen asks Poppy who Cooper is and she responds by telling him that he’s just a friend, I’m left feeling a tad disappointed because we see that a lot in romance books. Poppy could easily just have given Owen Cooper’s name and left the rest to his imagination.

“So, their secret hook-up had been busted wide open before it even had a chance to be secret.” I wouldn’t call the realistic small town feel of the setting this book’s biggest strength, but it’s definitely one of them. Aunt June, who Poppy likens at one point to the Spanish Inquisition, is easily one of my favorite minor characters because she can say the funniest things that you cannot help but laugh at. The last few chapters made me want to smack Cooper around a bit as the author moves in to answer the question of whether these two are meant to be after all. Laura, the woman who made Cooper feel that true love was just not for him, has quite an important role to play in the end.

I tell you, Melody Grace will get readers’ blood boiling with her fiery hot Poppy and Cooper lovemaking scenes. As a guy who loves reading, you know, I’m not immune to daylight fantasies about dating and falling in love with an author. Grace’s illustration of Poppy makes a guy really envy Cooper. Women will definitely envy Poppy because of how, well, hot she makes Cooper sound. It’s hard to come up for air once you sink your teeth into this one.

Kindle Edition:

Publisher: Melody Grace Books
Date Published: February 24, 2017
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Pages: 292

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