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THE BACKUP PLAN – Jill Shalvis
A Perfect 10
Sunrise Cove
, Book 3
ISBN: 978-0063095472
January 17, 2023
Romantic Comedy

Sunrise Cove, California – Present Day

Three people whose friendship splintered apart after the death of the brother of one of them, are brought together when they are left an old wild west Bed & Breakfast. They hate each other right now, but will working to restore the old inn bring them together?

Alice left town after her beloved brother was killed while racing his car. She thinks everyone blames her because she had been working on the car right before he drove off. His longtime girlfriend, Lauren, wouldn’t speak to her and the town gossips had a field day. Alice had been secretly lusting after Knox, but he wouldn’t look her way because he was dating someone else. She’d rather be anywhere else other than at the inn but the other two won’t buy her out. They agree to fix it up and then possibly turn it over to a property management team. Meanwhile, Knox is single and unattached. He’s as deliciously attractive now as he was back then. He continues to tease Alice and the sparks are flying hot and heavy.

Lauren works at the local library but it’s as though she’s living in the past. Everyone refers to her as “the widow,” even though she was never married to her boyfriend. How can she move on if she can’t move past the past? The inn was owned by her great aunt, Eleanor, but they didn’t have much of a relationship because Eleanor and Lauren’s grandmother fought over a man—Lauren’s late grandfather. Lauren’s father ended up being raised by Eleanor, but he left as soon as he turned eighteen. The old lady was as crotchety as they came. Lauren’s relationship with Alice is fraught with tension. How can they spend the next several weeks working to restore the inn if they can’t stand each other?

Knox left Sunrise Cove after his now ex-girlfriend cheated on him and ended up pregnant. He’s gone on to career success and he could afford to buy out Alice and Lauren, but he wants to go through with it, especially in light of the fact that he finds Alice attractive. The two women are like two cats circling one another in a dark alley. They are ready to pounce and try to hurt the other. Knox is there to be the referee. He settles their disputes and helps set the rules. But soon, he is wanting to spend more time with Alice. She is feisty and stubborn and makes it easy for him to tease her. Their sparks fly all over and soon, they are locking lips. Yet, her guilt over her brother’s death and the friction between her and Lauren threaten to destroy everything they have accomplished at the inn. And the ghost of Eleanor stands tall. Why did the old woman leave it to these three?

THE BACKUP PLAN is a cute, funny, and highly entertaining tale. While part of the Sunrise Cove series, it is a standalone. Three former friends are thrown together to restore an old inn. While all three knew Eleanor, none were close to the woman. Partway through, they discover old emails that Eleanor had sent to her sister, the one she hated. Alice, Lauren, and Knox agree to read one a day. As each one is read, it provides more clues to the past and opens the dialogue between them. But it also reopens old wounds…

Once I started reading THE BACKUP PLAN, I could hardly put it down. It drew me into the lives of Alice, Lauren, and Knox. This is why I gave it A Perfect 10. There is also a secondary story about Lauren starting a tentative friendship with Ben, who owns a hardware store in town. Will it lead to a romance for her? Meanwhile, Alice and Knox circle around each other, neither wanting to admit their attraction. Alice plans to leave Sunrise Cove as soon as the inn is fixed up. Knox’s life is elsewhere also, but will they decide to stay?

Prepare to enjoy yourself when you start reading THE BACKUP PLAN. It is too good to pass up.

Patti Fischer

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