Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on April 6, 2021
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eBook (319 pages)
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads • Bookhype
Can you find real love when you've always got your head in the clouds?
Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.
Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn't the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who's as grouchy as he is gorgeous--and it turns out he has a very different vision for the property's future.
Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley's scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one's comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.
Proceed With Caution:
This book contains mentions of death and illness, a panic attack, and discussions of social anxiety.
Twice Shy is narrated by twenty-nine-year-old Maybell who has just inherited her great aunt Violet’s grand manor and accompanying lands. Or, that’s what she’s told. Really, Maybell has inherited half of everything and the groundskeeper, Wesley, gets the other half. Maybell has already left her job and her apartment, so she’s not giving up her new home, despite her and Wesley having opposing ideas on what to with the house and land. Plus there’s a little matter of hidden treasure somewhere. Finder’s keepers.
Twice Shy suffers from second book syndrome. Sarah Hogle’s debut novel You Deserve Each Other was so unique and refreshing, and her sophomore title sounded like it was going to be super cute. Well, it does have a lot of good bits and pieces, but that’s all they are. Nothing really fit together for me, and I was mostly bored or annoyed while reading.
The opening of Twice Shy was actually pretty great. Maybell tells us all about how her coworker cat-fished her on a dating app. She thought she had been talking to a wonderful and handsome man named Jack, but it was just Gemma making sure Maybell stayed away from her own boyfriend (which was a nonissue, but whatever). Of course, Gemma comes clean when she was bored of the ruse, Maybell is hurt and embarrassed, and all of that comes rushing back when she goes to move into her aunt’s house only to come face-to-face with Jack. Except his name is Wesley. Yikes. I was living for this setup, but that’s all it was. A setup. Nothing actually comes from it. Maybell eventually shares this awkward situation with him and then it’s never mentioned again.
As for the splitting the manor with a stranger plot, Twice Shy just left me hanging. At first Maybell and Wesley seem to be at odds. They both had plans and they both feel entitled to the property for different reasons. They do set their differences aside to get the place cleaned up and safe to live in, but then they just go about combining their plans. There’s no real tension here, but also no real resolution. They both get what they want, but where did they compromise? How is it actually going to work? I want to know!
The one thing that I did really enjoy about Twice Shy was Maybell’s crush on Wesley. I didn’t like her overall. I found her characterization kind of inconsistent, but her crush! We rarely ever get the crush phase of a relationship. Most romance novels go from zero to sixty, even in YA where crushes run rampant! Maybell actually uses the word crush and laments the fact that she has one on her seemingly grumpy co-inheritor. Crush feels are real.
Twice Shy was just okay. I wish we had gotten more of the renovations and turning the manor into a working hotel and animal sanctuary. The treasure hunt aspect was boring and ended predictably. Maybell wasn’t very likeable. Wesley was cute, but too perfect. There just wasn’t anything here that stood out or made me care.