Nom de Plume Rating: ★★★★☆
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in Friday Harbor, Washington, with a boyfriend, Kevin, who she believes is her soul mate. She has always had a magical side – a gift that finds its way into the glass she creates – and she struggles to keep it contained. But when Lucy is blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal, she questions many of her choices. Kevin leaves her and his new lover is none other than Lucy’s own sister.
Meanwhile, facing the severe disapproval of Lucy’s family, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to “romance” Lucy so that she can more easily move on. But when Sam and Lucy begin to feel real sparks between them, Lucy must ask herself if she can easily risk her heart again. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life – even after being broken – can be remade into something beautiful. And that it is only by discovering who you really are that you can find the one who truly deserves you.
First Line: “When Lucy Marinn was seven years old, three things happened: Her little sister got sick, she was assigned her first science fair project, and she found out that magic existed.”
Lucy gets tossed to the curb by her bastard of a boyfriend, only to find out he leaves her for her younger sister, Alice. TOOOOL BAAAG. We grieve with Lucy as she rediscovers herself and remembers all the times in her life that Alice got whatever she wanted; spoiled brat! Pretty soon after Kevin dumps her, he is engaged to Alice. Say it with me: What!??
BUTTTT Alice’s parents won’t give the newly engaged pair any money for the wedding because of her betrayal of Lucy. (Good parents, eh? Finally they stand up for Luce!) So Kevin, being the sleezebag that he is, asks Sam Nolan to romance his ex in order for his future in-laws to move on. Alice also hopes this will “bring the family together” and get past her selfishness (although she doesn’t see it like that.)
Before Kevin asks Sam to woo his ex, Sam is already falling. He ran into Lucy the day Kevin dumped her and told her to move out. Yes, he did that, too. Charming, huh? Sam was fascinated with Lucy then, and he’s fascinated with her after Kevin asks this favor. Sam plays along… but it’s not as manipulative as it sounds. Sam confronts Lucy about Kevin’s request, and even though she is embarrassed that her future brother-in-law (weird) asked such a thing, her and Sam’s relationship blossoms.
Ooooo the drama!
Luckily he’d never found a woman who had temped him to give up his freedom. And if he ever did, he knew exactly how to handle it: Run like hell in the opposite direction.
Ooo the foreshadowing!!
Sam Nolan… See, I’ve been on a western/cowboy high for the last few weeks and now I keep envisioning this vineyard man! Not only is he dreamy, but he is a walking juxtaposition which for some reason is HOT HOT HOT. He avoids commitment like the plague, yet he helps raise his niece. He’s not ready to give up his freedom, yet he only lives for his vineyard and the grapes… that sounds like a man who has given up his freedom already, ladies! Sam Nolan is in that awkward transition stage where a man says, “Yup, I’m ready for luuuv,” and settles down.
I love following Lucy’s journey as she learns to open her heart to the right people and mends her relationship with her sister. My favorite part of this series is the theme of magic. I’m not talking about magic tricks (LOL). Lisa Kleypas injected some serious doses of imagery into my eyes as I read this. Sam has magic when it comes to his vineyard. Lucy has magic when it comes to her art. The illusions Lisa sprinkles throughout the pages are beautiful and it ties everyone in Friday Harbor together.
Ayeee Lisa Kleypas gets my golden stars of awe. Christmas with Holly was a beautiful book, but this…. this was one heck of a romantic read! Take me to Rainshadow Road!!