The Backup Plan (Sunrise Cove) – ARC review

The Backup Plan
by Jill Shalvis
Release Date:  January 17, 2023
Publisher:  William Morrow
Book #3 in the Sunrise Cove series
Number of pages:  384
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Ages 15 and up
CW: alcoholism, grief
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.

Stuck together, they make a list of rules to keep the peace—rules that end up doing the opposite, but by some miracle they find what they didn’t even know they were looking for—acceptance, true friendship, and in a case (or two!), true love.

Second chance romance, mending old friendships, finding a path through grief; this story has a lot of heavy topics. In typical Jill Shalvis style, there are also a lot of moments that made me laugh. Once again, as is the case with all of the books in this series, this story skates the edge of romance and is much more women’s fiction. There’s still a romantic storyline and a HEA, but it’s more about these three people finding their way in the world.

There are many things to like about this story. Knox and Lauren are such kind and wonderful characters. Alice has a humongous chip on her shoulder and hasn’t dealt with her grief so she’s harder to get a bead on. Alice’s brother, who was also Lauren’s first love, died years ago in an accident. Lauren stayed in their hometown and became the sweet, pitied widow, much to her dismay. Alice, on the other hand, ran as far away as she could, leaving her hometown and her best friend behind. Lauren faces everything with grace, maybe a bit too much as she holds a lot in that she shouldn’t. Alice reacts to everything defensively and keeps everyone at arm’s length.

Knox is beyond patient with Alice. He had a rough upbringing and it shaped him to be a considerate and sensitive person. He doesn’t trust easily, yet he knows he can go all in with Alice if she’ll only let her walls down. Alice has had a thing for Knox since she was a teen and was too young for him. They didn’t interact much, but she was always drawn to his kindness. Lauren gets some romance too, and her guy is just as kind as Knox. Ben is patient and funny and just what Lauren needs in her life, someone who doesn’t see her as half of a tragic couple who was and sees her as an individual.

There are some warm fuzzies in this story, but there are also little mistakes throughout that I don’t expect from this author. Nothing major, but little things that usually I don’t find in her books.

I’m a huge fan of this author and they can’t all be 5-star reads, I know that. This story was both fun and touching. I prefer her more romance-centered stories, but she keeps my interest in her contemporary fiction stories more than most authors, so there’s that.

3.5 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

As most of you know, I have been holding reviews of books from HarperCollins and their imprints during the union strike. The executives finally met the union at the bargaining table and they have an agreement. Therefore, I’ll be releasing my reviews throughout this week and next week. As I’ve said before, this strike hurt the authors more than it hurt the publisher but it needed to be done. Be sure to show these authors your love if you’ve read and enjoyed their stories.

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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2 Responses to The Backup Plan (Sunrise Cove) – ARC review

  1. Louise H says:

    A shame you didn’t enjoy this more, but as you say not every book by an author will be a 5 star read.

  2. I’m so glad the strike is getting closer to being over.

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