by Toni Aleo
Blurb: Delaney Abbot has never wanted to live anywhere other than Spring Grove, Kentucky. She loves the town, the people, and the whiskey made right down the road at McElroy’s Distillery. If only she could find a man in her beloved small town worthy of all that love she has to give.
The first thing Reed McElroy did when he finished high school was get the heck out of Spring Grove, Kentucky. He’s happy with his life as a veterinarian in the big city, and he would just as soon never step foot in his small town again.
Delaney has had a crush on Reed since she was knee-high to a grasshopper, but he never looked at her the same way. Now that tragedy has dragged him back home kicking and screaming, Reed has no choice but to make peace with a past clouded by small-mindedness and judgment. He is forced to see his hometown through grown-up eyes, and everywhere he looks, he finds local sweetheart Delaney. It seems like everyone in Spring Grove loves her. So, why shouldn’t he?
This was an adorable and heartwarming read. Sometimes small-town romances are too goody-goody. Toni Aleo’s Spring Grove, however, shows both the pros (Delaney’s relationship with the town) and the cons (Reed’s relationship) in an authentic light. Reed is forced to return to the town he despises after the death of his father. Delaney has never left Spring Grove and is essentially the home-town girl, working at a bunch of different Spring Grove establishments. Their friendship in the past hasn’t translated to the future and it takes a little while for Reed and Delaney to recognize that the tension between them is lust and to give into it. Once they do give in, they manage to steamy up the pages, and a church in one scene! Both Delaney and Reed need to comes to terms with their relationship with the town and each other. The main conflict in their relationship is not an external force but actually internal as both characters determine what direction their lives should take. This is a satisfying read with likable main and supporting characters and adorable pets. It’s everything I want in a small-town romance!
Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.