author: Jennifer Peel
published: 9 September 2022
genre(s): holiday/seasonal, romance
source: Kindle Unlimited
buy/shelve it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
Every person has that one thing they’re known for, and it doesn’t matter what you do, that one thing—whether good or bad—follows you around like a bloodhound for the rest of your life. For me it’s a story I wrote when I was fifteen. Forever more I will be known as the Reece the Rogue Pirate girl, instead of Josie Peterson. Why couldn’t I be known for all the cute children’s stories I’ve written about my family’s pumpkin patch?
Tragically, the torrid story I wrote as a teen was based on a real person, Reece Cavanaugh. And guess what? He grew up to be a pirate—okay, lawyer. Same thing. To make matters worse, the man is representing my ex-fiancé who wants to steal my treasure, aka engagement ring. If that wasn’t the icing on the cake, Reece has an adorable daughter who happens to be my new student. That’s right, I must now have actual conversations with him after avoiding him for half my life, even by hiding behind banana displays when needed. But the more I get to know Reece—the real version, not the imaginary one who ravishes me on sandy beaches—I can’t help but wish we could roll around in the sand together. There’s a problem though, the school I work for frowns upon relationships between parents and teachers. And it’s pumpkin season, which means all my free time is spent on the family farm. But when he kisses me, I can’t help wanting to break all the rules and get tangled up in the barn. The burning question is, am I brave enough to make my story a reality or will it be another bad ending?
From USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Peel comes a curl your toes and cuddle up with your favorite blanket and cocoa romantic comedy.
- a few notes
- mini review in 5
- full review
- read this if…
POV: 1st person
keywords/phrases: fall, Halloween, childhood bullying
cover notes: love the cozy vibes!
- This is more than a romance; it’s a book about overcoming childhood bullying, reframing the experience into something more positive.
- The aftereffects of her story being blasted everywhere affected Josie deeply, and I felt her mortification deeply.
- For Josie, the novel is almost a coming-of-age moment, as she finds a way to own the story that caused her such pain over the years.
- I loved Reese, the way he cared for Josie, the way he supported her and helped her, instead of trying to fix everything himself.
- I enjoyed seeing Josie finally stand up for herself, to take back her pride.
This book is just as much a cozy fall romance as it is a book about overcoming the aftereffects of bullying, and I appreciated that depth so much.
In high school, Josie wrote what was supposed to be a private story, a pirate romance with the real-life, eyepatch-wearing Reese. Thanks to her brother, it became less than private when he shared it with the world, until it even ended up on the internet. The fallout was immediate and complete, the entire town knowing about it until it became the stuff of urban legends. Worse, her very conservative mother found out, immediately assuming the more steamy content of the story was based on fact. The entire situation followed poor Josie, even into her adulthood.
I read other reviews about this, the fact that the conflict surrounding the story lasted so long and so completely, that it seemed juvenile. I would agree but for the fact that it happens all the time. It’s happened to me. Rumors started in high school have continued to follow me to this day, some 30+ years later. So I fully understand this plot premise; I feel it to my core.
I loved how the conflict brought an almost coming-of-age moment for Josie, as Reese helps her to appreciate the story and its legacy, to reframe it for herself. That was beautiful to see, making the romance between them that much more wonderful. It was fun to watch them become friends, to watch them fall in love. Reese was everything a great Book Boyfriend should be… kind, loving, patient, and supportive.
Great characters, great story, great fall vibes!
Read this if you love a cozy fall read!
- 2023 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge