I received this book for free from Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Honeymoon Cottage by Lori Foster
Series: Cemetery, IN #1
Published by Harlequin on May 24, 2022
Genres: Contemp Romance, small town romance
Source: Advance Reader Copy
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From New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster comes a heartwarming, romantic story for fans of Jill Shalvis, Lori Wilde and Sarah Morgan. In The Honeymoon Cottage, locals of a quirky small town help their favorite wedding planner find her own happily-ever-after.
She was fine arranging other people’s weddings… But life had other plans.
When it comes to creating the perfect happily-ever-after, Yardley Belanger is a bona fide miracle worker. From bridal bouquets to matching cowboy boots, the quirky wedding planner’s country-chic affairs have caused quite a stir in the small town of Cemetery. But when it comes to her own love life? She’s clueless.
Perhaps it’s for the best. The thirty-one-year-old has poured her heart and soul into her business and doesn’t have time for anything—or anyone—else. And that’s something not even the gorgeous older brother of her newest client can change…right?
All Travis Long wanted was to give his little sister, Sheena, the wedding of her dreams. Ever since the tragic death of their parents, he’s done everything he can to make her feel loved and give her everything she needs. Still…a country wedding? In a place called Cemetery? But Yardley seems to know exactly what to do and how to do it—and Travis finds himself falling for her a little more each day.
Soon Yardley and Travis find themselves being nudged together by well-meaning locals who want to see the town’s favorite wedding planner get her own happy ending.
This is my first Lori Foster book that isn’t a Romantic Suspense. I would classify this as a slow-burn small town romance.
Yardley is 31 and lives in her childhood home with her mother and her aunt. They run a wedding planning business that does pretty well even though it’s a small town. Yardley has renovated their Victorian manor house to have a lovely office and her aunt and mother each have spacious suites. Her room and bathroom are last on the list. She always takes care of others first. We start to see this pattern. While this book is firmly in the Romance category, it has some hints of Women’s Fiction, and I have to admit, I really enjoyed the meld! Yardley is always putting herself last. It’s not her self-esteem, or anything like that, it’s that she really cares about everyone in her small town, so she puts them first. It isn’t until she meets with a potential client whose brother is paying for the wedding that things change. He is able to see Yardley, really see her, and he loves who she is pretty much immediately.
Travis is gorgeous, like super model gorgeous, but Yardley has determined that at the ripe old age of 31 she is a spinster and she’s okay with that. She doesn’t need a man, let alone the brother of the bride she’s working with. She’s got her work, her family, and the town. And part of her love for the town is hating that the name is on every business. She lives in Cemetery, IN and she doesn’t feel the name does any favors for her small business.
I do think Yardley’s obsession with the town name being Cemetery was weird. Like, it’s not all that bad? It would make for some fun stores and Halloween parades/themes. But Yardley is obsessed with getting the name changed. She hates that all the businesses in town are Cemetery Bait and Tackle, Cemetery Bakery, Cemetery stop and shop, you get the picture. I don’t get why it’s such an issue? I don’t think she wanted the town name itself changed, but just the Cemetery moniker pulled off all the businesses. It was maybe her quirky trait? But that is more of a “me” problem. This may not bug anyone else. Besides it gave her a chance to bond with Betty Cemetery, the almost 90 year old great great granddaughter of the town founder. I really enjoyed Betty. She was a fantastic addition to the town, and one of the best characters.
Travis convinces Yardley to go on a date with him, not just a business lunch, or meet up, but an actual date, and while she’s excited, he wants to take it slow. This feels like the opposite of most Lori Foster novels I’ve read! But it works for this book and for these characters. When they finally do come together, it makes it that much sweeter.
Travis and Yardley were great together, I enjoyed their dynamic, and all the fun quirks that come with a small town romance. I hope we see some more books set in Cemetery, IN from Ms. Foster. I look forward to reading them.
***ARC courtesy of Harlequin via Netgalley