Title: Love Story
Series: Love Unexpectedly #3
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: 14 Feb 2017
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.
When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.
After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.
Love Story is one of those tales that drags you under and doesn’t let you go until the very last page, which makes it very difficult to articulate the emotions it evokes. From the beginning we are aware of the history between Lucy and Reece; we are given insight into their childhood relationship and the current divide between them.
Love Story is told in dual narrative which I was eternally grateful for, otherwise I think I may not have liked Reece quite as much as I did. The intermingled chapters from the past were further differentiated by the use of third person narrative as opposed to the first person used in the present. The pivotal moments shown through Lucy and Reece’s long history showed the depth of their connection and therefore, the level of emotional damage their implosion caused.
Lucy and Reece have so much in common, and while they understand each other instinctively, this understanding can also be twisted to fit into their current viewpoint creating further discord. Ultimately, it is Reece’s abandonment issues created from losing his mother at a tender age, and his fathers subsequent withdrawal from life as well as his older sister leaving the family home, that is the root of he problems between Lucy and Reece. Sometimes seeing is really not believing and things can be perceived in a different way to how they actually are. Fuelling Reece’s abandonment issue only results in him taking stupid hurtful measures in an effort to protect himself emotionally but only resulting in breaking both his own and Lucy’s hearts.
Time, distance, stubbornness, and lack of communication fuel the divide between them. Until they are forced to spend two weeks together on a road trip toward their new careers/lives. While there is no denying the chemistry between Reece and Lucy is still electric they both have to overcome more than their past relationship. Fear keeps their barriers firmly in place re-inforced by negative thinking preventing them from taking the risks they both desperately want.
Love Story is far more than the relationship between Reece and Lucy, it is also the journey of the individual characters into a place in their lives where they are able to trust themselves in order to open themselves up to a fulfilling relationship.
In this instance I wish I was knowledgable about wine pairings so I could put together a list for each section of the book and possibly the characters. Now wouldn’t that be fun 😉