Can a snake give two stubborn people a second chance at love?
Beach bum Daisy needs to save her parents’ marriage. They’re the one steady thing in her twice-divorced life. But her trip home to a small Georgia town gets complicated by a disappeared friend, a small boy named Raj, a five-foot python named Bogart, a jewel thief, a cranky bus, a trip to New Orleans, and, oh yes—the guy who broke her heart in high school. Can Daisy risk a second chance?
Plot: An intriguing mix of light and airy romance and romantic suspense, this book is tinged with both zaniness and tragedy. The in-depth look at how misconceptions and mistakes of the past can affect current relationships and life trajectories is a study in subtly executed plots.
Prose/Style: Well-edited with accessibly styled writing, the prose flows easily, providing a rich and immersive reading experience.
Originality: While the second-chance lovers trope is oft-used, this novel brings it to a new level with the inclusion of unusual elements – namely a snake, a nine-year-old boy, and parents who have seemingly lost their minds. It’s a fresh take on a reader favorite.
Character Development: Each character has a distinct tone and voice, imbuing them with unique, special qualities. There are small areas where character choices and reactions don’t quite ring true, but overall, the people presented are those one would expect to meet in everyday life.
Date Submitted: August 27, 2020
Daisy is a likable, independent woman who marches to the beat of her own drum. Readers will sympathize with her plight after realizing that Luke married Daisy’s ex-best friend, Alyssa, because his prim and proper parents didn’t approve of Daisy’s free-spirited personality. Daisy’s inevitable reconciliation with Luke, who is now separated from Alyssa, is predictable but nevertheless sweet. Before the happy ending, readers will enjoy rich buildup and Daisy’s snarky inner monologue (“in case it might not be Luke McDuffie, but his evil twin, Fluke, whom they’d hidden in the attic all these years”).
There are many important characters, and each is well-rounded and purposeful in both their own arcs and Daisy’s narrative. With Lorelei indisposed after a serious injury, Raj’s absent father comes into play; he tracks the Harrisons down to meet his son but ultimately helps Daisy forge a path to her own maturity. As she unknowingly and unwillingly grows more attached to Raj, Daisy’s endearing relationship with him becomes the central and most satisfying element. Her winding path to love, family, and identity will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever stumbled in finding happiness.
Takeaway: Women’s fiction readers will be delighted with Daisy’s wittiness and independence and enjoy her unusual path to love and happiness.
Great for fans of: Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook, Meg Cabot’s The Boy is Back, Jennifer Weiner.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B+