Laura Costello moves from New York to Los Angeles for grad school. Before classes begin, she finds herself needing a new place to live, ASAP. Drenched after a rainstorm, Laura ends up in a bookstore with quirky, friendly booksellers (first encountered in the companion novel The Bookish Life of Nina Hill) and is referred to a charming boardinghouse where she meets Polly, Impossibly Handsome Bob, and the other residents. Laura and Bob watch baseball games together and shoot hoops, while Polly and Nina recruit her for their trivia team. Sounds cozy, like a romantic comedy, right?
Yet Laura struggles mightily with anxiety and PTSD after a serious car accident and hasn’t gotten the support she wanted from her family. In the end, her new friends and landlady help Laura face her fears in a comfort read with substance. Besides other titles by Abbi Waxman, readalikes include books by Emily Giffin, Linda Holmes, and Taj McCoy.
I picked this book up to read a romantic comedy set in a small town about home renovation, but what surprised and delighted me are the well-developed supporting characters, the theme of found family, and the very funny dialogue. Also a goofy dog who adopts two kittens. I find watching home renovation shows on television to be relaxing, but it’s probably not at all relaxing to produce them. Maggie and her best friend Dean renovate houses and have a popular YouTube channel. When they finish a project they move on, usually to another state. Dean would like to settle down in one place, but not Maggie. Then Maggie buys a Victorian mansion in Kinship, Idaho, where she visited as a girl. She has an instant attraction to Silas, a local landscape designer. Silas introduces her to his big, messy family and is interested in more than a summer fling. The town of Kinship is best known for a nearby stagecoach robbery and there are rumors of buried treasure. Laugh out loud funny and a memorable read; I will have to check out some of Lucy Score’s other novels. Readalike authors include Tessa Bailey, Jen DeLuca and Jennifer Crusie.
Molly Gray enjoys cleaning, especially returning hotel rooms to a state of perfection. Mostly she enjoys her work as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, in an unnamed city. While many of the guest treat Molly as though she’s invisible, other guests, such as wealthy businessman Charles Black, verge on rudeness. Molly is very naïve and socially awkward, but has a few people she trusts and counts as friends at the hotel, including a bartender and Giselle, Charles Black’s second wife.
Lately Molly has been struggling to pay her rent, since the death of her beloved grandmother, so her supervisor’s habit of swiping Molly’s tips is doubly frustrating. When Molly discovers a body in a hotel suite, she becomes a person of interest. With the help of some unexpected friends, as well as remembering her Gran’s wise advice, Molly gets ready to testify in court.
Readers will worry about and cheer for Molly in this heartwarming debut with several clever plot twists. This is not a gentle read, though it’s low in violence. Suggested for readers who like eccentric yet charming characters, with a theme of found family. Readalikes include Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little, How Lucky by Will Leitch, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.