Abigail Pressman has waited for the day when the building which houses her bookstore will become available for purchase and she can expand her business. She knows the day is coming soon and is dreaming big -- until she finds out the building has been sold to a cash buyer with no warning, and he wants the entire space for his new medical practice.
Widower Jacob Willoughby has moved to Loves Park, CO, to get a fresh start for himself and his daughter. Still grieving and unable to forgive himself after his wife's death, he is hoping the new town and the work of renovating his building will help him move on. It's too bad Abigail's shop will have to close, but there just isn't enough space for his plans otherwise.
Loves Park is known for its focus on romance, including the Valentine Volunteers who work together on community projects and occasionally help a single girl find a husband. Although Abigail has thought their work was silly in the past, she is now thankful for their support as she tries to rally the town around her business and find a way to save it. When she comes across an envelope of paper hearts while doing work for the Volunteers, she has no idea that those hearts are part of an ongoing story that will soon captivate her and all of Loves Park.
I enjoyed Abigail as a character and the way she was able to grow in self-confidence through this story. She was just floating along, keeping many protective barriers around herself, and then through circumstances was able to learn to look beyond herself and find fulfillment in being in community and serving others. On the other hand, I felt like Jacob was a weak character who didn't stand up for himself or others, always thought he should apologize and rarely did, and even accounting for his past it was a lot to overlook.
Courtney Walsh is another author I first became familiar with through The GROVE, and I would read another of her works if given the chance. The characters were very complex and thoughtfully written, and the small-town charm was true to life. It might not have been everything I hoped, but I still got hooked on the story and had a hard time putting it down as the plot's puzzle pieces began coming together.