AUTHOR: Juliette Poe
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
REVIEWER: Pistol Annie
Purchased by Reviewer @ Amazon
RATING: 5-Southern Comfort-filled ♥♥♥♥♥
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An old love does not rust.
(From an old Lithuanian saying)
Well, I declare! NYTimes best-selling author, Sawyer Bennett has gone down south and gotten herself an alter ego! She’s writing as Juliette Poe, in a new series that’s sweeter than pee-can pie. Set in a Mayberry-esque setting, this novella casts Ryland Powers, one of those highfalutin’ Harvard-trained big city attorneys, and Trixie Mancinkus, homegrown small town southern lawyer (and Harvard Law grad, herself), in a second chance romance trope. Told in first person point of view by three different characters, it’s a southern charmer that’s sure to have you swooning.
She’s small town Whynot, North Carolina, and he’s big city Boston, Massachussetts. She went her way and he went his. Now she wears cut-off jean-shorts, tees and flip-flops to work, while he’s dressed to the nines in designer suits and ties. Sounds simple enough, right? But there’s a whole lot more to Trixie and Ry’s story.
They met at Harvard Law School, dated for three years, and even made plans for a future together. But after being in the east for several years, Trixie missed her small southern town, and the family and friends who live there. Ry scooped up a high-profile job with a prestigious firm right out of law school, and couldn’t see himself giving it up to live in a one-stoplight podunk town. After they parted ways, they licked their wounds and moved on with their separate lives. Eleven years have passed without any contact with the other — until Trixie sends out a SOS call for his help.
She needs a high-profile legal eagle for help on a personal injury legal case, and Ry fits that bill. Even after learning her noble reasons, my only nitpick is that I found the timing a little far-fetched — seems like a very long time apart without ever talking, and then suddenly placing a call to your old lover. Ryland is surprised – no doubt – but he is soon on a plane headed south to Whynot. Waiting for him on the other end is a face-to-face with the girl who broke his heart, along with a huge dose of southern hospitality done up close and crazy. It’s nothing like he’s ever experienced before.
In his POV, Paps Mancinkus introduces readers to the Mancinkus/Mainer family. He and his granddaughter, Trixie, have always been particularly close and shared a special relationship — even as best friends. Paps is worth the price of the book. An ex-Marine, full of spit and vinegar, he owns the town’s only bar that sits right next door to Trixie’s law practice. Paps is a Yankee transplant from Pennsylvania, who moved to Whynot to be near his son and family. A little on the sly side, he may have a few tricks up his sleeve for members of the family, too. Right now he’s working on a way to put the sparkle back in his oldest grandchild’s eyes. It’s been missing far too long – but he’s hoping that might change soon with the arrival of Trixie’s ex-boyfriend.
Pretty as a peach and sassy as all get-out, Patricia “Trixie” Mancinkus is headstrong and vibrant. She doesn’t take crap from anybody, but she’s got a heart as big as they come. She loves her hometown and its residents. She’s devoted to her family. Trixie’s smart as a whip and has her own law firm. But Trixie’s heart has a crack right down the middle — one she’s hoping to mend. She’s gonna make that boy hers again. The girl’s got gumption in spades!
A typical city boy, Ryland Powers feels like a fish out of water around the Mancinkus clan. Ry graduated in the top 1% of his law school class. Got a job offer with a top Boston firm when he graduated, and now he’s making millions. He’s a workaholic, but kind and loyal, well-mannered — and did I mention that he’s also a perfect package with dark hair and piercing blue eyes? And Heavens to Betsy, he’s falling for Trixie all over again!
There’s not one single “f-bomb” used by any of these characters, and I found the change from what has become an overuse to be quite refreshing. The chemistry is sizzling, yet sweet and loving. The sex scenes are hot, but done tastefully, and in a rather “fade to private” sense. From the moment they lay eyes on one another again, there’s no doubt that time did nothing to diminish the deep feelings and connection these two have for each other. No blame games – no childish behavior – just calm and adult-like conduct – as these two come to the realization that what they share is real and powerful — and worth the effort on both their parts to make their lives full, happy and worthwhile together. The past is just that: she’d done it her way and he’d done it his way, but now it’s their time.
With its large cast of colorful secondary characters and a lighthearted sugary story of family, romance, and second chances (including sweet tea with moonshine on the side), I loved each minute of this playful and high-spirited story. A fishing trip with Paps where Ol’ Mud makes an appearance. A little courtroom action to show off legal skills. An encounter between a poisonous snake and a loaded pistol. Great southern comfort food and lots of family & friends interaction. And plenty of time for sweet lovin’ with office trysts, hotel hideaways, and even underneath mom and dad’s roof — all combined makes for some terrific entertainment. Sometimes it’s a really good thing to take a little break from all those books filled with sex, angst and drama — and I reckon I found solace here.
I’m definitely onboard with the new alter ego named Juliette Poe. And from the storm he’s blowin’ up, looks like bad boy, Lowe Mancinkus is up next telling his own tale. Hope he can keep up with the great fun and lovin’ found on the 117 pages started here. I smiled and laughed out-loud from start to finish. You won’t stop hootin-n-hollerin for a happy ending for our southern miss and her citified prince. Hell yeah – the whole darn shebang is just precious!