Book+Main Loves: Let It Show
Welcome to Book+Main Loves, a place for us to recommend some of the books that have captured our hearts and our fancy. We’re excited to share with you all the romance reads that have made us smile and laugh, cringe and cry, and all the feels in between. If you’d like to know more about Book+Main Loves, please feel free to reach to us at email@example.com or by commenting below. Now, without any further ado, let’s get into it!
Let It Show
Series: Juniper Ridge #2
Author: Tawna Fenkse
Release Date: March 12, 2021
Let me preface this review by saying that I have been a reader of Tawna Fenkse’s romcoms for about six years now. I can easily remember picking up my first book by her (not her first book, to be clear — I can’t claim to have found her from debut, sadly), and falling immediately in love with her writing style and her quirky sense of humor. Her releases have been something for me to look forward to, little gifts that bring me back to the small towns she’s created, or into the families and friendships she has chronicled.
It’s one of those families that I returned to through my reading of Let It Show, the funny and sweet second book in her Juniper Ridge series. The Judsons are a famous Hollywood set of siblings—all named by their celebrity parents for giants of the Golden Age of Cinema, all part of the daily whirlwind that is the life of the rich and famous. They’re directors, producers, actors, and publicists. Or, in the case of our heroine, Dr. Mari Judson, a celebrity psychologist.
And it’s Mari — short for Marilyn, as in Monroe, in case you were trying to figure out her connection to classic cinema greats — who is the catalyst for the premise behind the Juniper Ridge series. For those unfamiliar with it, a brief overview: using land formerly owned by a doomsday cult, the Judsons have set up a self-sustaining community and plan to follow the residents as part of a new reality TV show. While her siblings are focused on the TV show aspects, Mari is instead focused on the research opportunity with which Juniper Ridge provides her — the chance to see what close living does to the carefully selected community members, what friendships or relationships may arise, what difficulties they all will face.
“I was able to simply appreciate the humor and the chemistry and the genuinely good life advice that was slipped into this book along with a well-rounded and rewarding love story, and a parrot who has the potential to be even more embarrassing than my kids were as toddlers.”
It’s through this focus, this work, that Mari first encounters Griffin Walsh. Employed in Juniper Ridge as the town’s brewmaster, Griff is a divorced single father with a chip on his shoulder and a tween-aged daughter who he just wants to be able to love and protect. He’s the quintessential romance hero — swoony and kind on the inside, grumpy and handsome on the outside. Did I fall in love with him (as I did with Ms. Fenkse’s writing all those years ago)? Hell yes, I did. I loved his drive to know and understand his daughter, his need to give her the best possible life, especially after a bitter divorce. I loved, too, the fact that he wasn’t shy about acknowledging the connection he sensed forming with Mari or his desire to pursue it, despite his general distrust of psychologists. He’s a nice guy, and wow, am I ever fan of that!
I’m less of a fan of secret-keeping and herein lies the beauty of Let It Show. Ms. Fenske takes one of my least-favorite sources of conflict and makes it relatable, believable, and incredibly enjoyable. As such, I was able to watch these two banter and circle around one another, fighting their urges to touch and take (something I was 100% behind), without that pit that often forms in my stomach when I know the other shoe is going to drop…and that it doesn’t need to, if only the protagonists would communicate.
Not only that, but I was able to simply appreciate the humor and the chemistry and the genuinely good life advice that was slipped into this book along with a well-rounded and rewarding love story, and a parrot who has the potential to be even more embarrassing than my kids were as toddlers. (And yeah, I have stories, so you’re just going to have to believe me on that.) I was able, too, to watch the growth of these characters as Mari began to see the walls she’d built around herself as the “outsider” in her famous family, and Griffin started to realize that all things — good or bad — happen for a reason. It really is a gift to be able to see the characters you’ve become attached to and invested in become better versions of themselves.
Just as it’s a gift to know that, as Let It Show was only the second book in this series about a group of six siblings — one of whom was featured in another of Ms. Fenkse’s excellent series — I still have many more books to look forward to.
Beth Cranford was born and raised in Australia, but followed her heart (and her husband) to the United States in her late 20s. As the mother of two kids, she’s learned that you can turn anything into a song and that slime does not belong in carpeted areas (or polite society). You can most often find her with her Kindle in hand, listening to Taylor Swift on repeat, or spending way too many hours playing Animal Crossing.
Follow her @BethCranford on B+M Bites.
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