I found this book to be a little scattered. It was sort of lacking in details; information to understand the background of the story was lacking or presented in a disorderly manner, or incomplete. I felt like I didn’t have a grasp of the back story of the characters. Also, the male character is a lawyer and his professional dealings were not very convincing, they didn’t sound all that lawyerly. In truth, the plot settings didn’t convince me, even though the story was nice. In summary, Jackson and Emberly were friends as children, then fell in love during their teens and were lovers in their senior year of high school. Jackson left to study to be a lawyer with plans to return to Emberly and be married. That never happened. Ten years later, he’s a successful lawyer, the youngest partner ever making in a prominent law firm. However, he’s facing a difficult moment in his career, a case that was won but with hidden information that smacks of corruption, and his career and reputation are in jeopardy. And what does he do? Run away to his old hometown, buy a truck that is a junk heap of metal and take on a job to paint three store fronts. HUH?!?! Then surprise, he learns that Ember is still home and has a little girl.
Ember is living a restricted life. She’s trying to make it as a pastry chef, has a little store left to her by an aunt, and her little girl, product of a one-night stand, lives with her mother. Here the story is a little fuzzy but seems like she was forced to live for three years with her mother once Coco was born. Now that she inherited the store, she’s preparing the upstairs to bring Coco to live with her. Yet, her mother takes care of Coco and pays for her preschool. She rules the town like a matriarch, rules the church where they go and tries to rule Ember’s life too. Her best friend Tabby helps her at the bakery.
Ember’s mother is one of those martinet of a woman, supremely religious and pious but cold-hearted and ruthless. She pretends that Ember and Coco do as she says, which is living to the strict code of conduct that the church demands. She believes in a God of judgement, not a God of love. Really, she was so hateful! Yet Ember has to dance her tune because she holds the money strings.
When Jackson and Ember meet again, first there is anger on both sides because they feel the other lied. Then they learn that both were lied to, by their parents, in conjunction, to get them apart. Jackson’s dad didn’t want him married to a little nobody and Ember’s mom hated Jackson and his family. Again, more fuzzy details about how Jackson’s dad ruined the town and his mother. And Ember’s mother hates Jackson and his family for reasons unknown until near the end of the story.
There’s also references to a car accident that took the life of Ember’s father and older sister. Her mother changed after the accident and turned into the hateful controlling woman she is at present. There’s also some fuzzy information about the accident as the origin for all their family situations, the hatred, Jack’s protectiveness to Ember, Jackson’s father desire to leave the town and never return. It’s only towards the end of the book that the truth about the accident and Ember’s nightmares come to light.
Reading this book was like driving at night with the car lights off. I could read it but not enjoy it because I didn’t have all the facts and had to ferret them little by little and not completely. It was an enjoyable read but I didn’t feel like the construction was the best. Just my honest opinion.