Joseph Kowalski and Keri Daniels were high school sweethearts but Keri left Joe broken hearted in order to chase her dreams. Now 18 years later, he’s a reclusive best-selling author and she’s a reporter for an entertainment magazine whose editor has just discovered her past relationship with Joe and demands she get the scoop on the guy. If she refuses she’ll risk losing her job and any chance of moving up a rung or two on the ladder. Keri’s worked hard to get to where she is and leaves behind sunny California to travel to the small New Hampshire town where she lost her virginity to a boy named Joe in the back of a 78 Ford Granada to the sounds of Whitesnake.
Said boy, now all grown and super sexy, talks her into joining him and his large extended family (he is single, without kids) on a two week vacation camping in the deep woods of New Hampshire without cell phones (no texting for help!), computers, or luxury bathrooms. Keri is appalled, especially when she learns she’ll be sharing a cabin with still hot Joe, but agrees for the sake of her career. The premise is too, too cute. Living in New Hampshire and coming of age in the 80’s (to the dulcet sounds of Whitesnake, Poison and Ratt -- remember them?) this book really resonated with me on a nostalgic level. The author got the feel of NH camping down pat and reminded me of all the reasons why I haven’t done it in a decade or so. Joe is a fabulously warm and lovable hero with a realistically messed up family who you’ll probably love and despise in equal measure. This book is as much a reunion romance as it is a tear-inducing family drama-edy. Keri and her unending quest to be someone other than a “mom”, “girlfriend” or a “wife” is where things fell flat for me. Personally, I can’t connect with a woman so hung up on her career that she’d leave her true love in the dust. But that’s just me, I married my high school sweetheart and we’ve been together since ’87 so I’m lucky and probably pretty biased.
Despite Keri, and her obsession with being “Keri, an important someone” I enjoyed this book a lot. When Joe and Keri reunite the sparks fly and they’re both forced to face their past mistakes and figure out a way to get along without losing their hearts all over again. Joe was devastated and made some poor choices when Keri left him the first time and all that heartache, angst and pain must be dealt with before they can move on. It’ll all bring a tear to your eyes, I swear it. The plot isn’t anything terribly exciting but it felt very real and honest and I will definitely check out what this author is up to next.