"Loved this one from start to finish. I felt drawn into the story. Loved the character and how they both struggled with coming to terms with their fears. Great supporting cast as well."
"I loved this story! Very sweet and well written."
"This novel started out with a bang: immediately the setting was so rich and the characters that inhabited it were so unique and complex that I was sucked right in. The existing relationships between Val and Laurel, Ree, and the rest of the Cool Springs denizens were subtle and engrossing, and had me so curious over the back story between them all, how they met and where they were going. I was engrossed. I loved Val: equal parts unapologetic and reclusive, she had a fragility that pulled me in but a strength that just got more and more fascinating the more I learned about her. While I feel the pacing suffers a bit toward the end when certain plot revelations were given over more to exposition than the detailed and considered encounters I had become used to, by that time, I was so in love with the characters that I was more interested in finding out how their story finished. Contrasting Laurel's internal struggles with what might be against Val's external and internal struggles with what came before was genius and very effective. Thank you for a lovely read about acceptance and love!"
Valkyrie Magnusson, a former Marine photographer injured while covering a goodwill interaction with Iraqi children in 2010, is haunted by flashbacks. She travels the U.S. as a photographer for Rider magazine. A self-proclaimed nomad, Val has little inclination to settle down. But something keeps calling her back to a little tourist trap called Cool Springs in rural West Virginia. The sign at the quirky little store boasts, “Good food, groceries, ice cream, hardware, feed store, taxidermy, gifts, and gas.”
Cool Springs is owned by Laurel Stemple and her grandmother Ree. Laurel is charged with the daily operations of the catch-all little store/diner and the care of her octogenarian grandmother. A frequent visitor, Val has become like family at Cool Springs. Interesting characters like Mule, aptly nicknamed for his braying laughter and Wunder, whose child-like questions keep everyone in stitches, create a unique tapestry of community in the little store.
Over the years, Val and Laurel have gradually fallen in love without acknowledging it. Personal secrets and scars have left the pair unable to move toward a relationship. While covering an annual Memorial Day Ride to the Wall, a near tragic accident forces Val and Laurel to confront their feelings and fears.
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