Just The Way You Are – Beth Moran

Published By: Boldwood
Pages: 378
Released On: 17/02/2022

When Olivia Tennyson – or Ollie to her friends – was sixteen, she wrote a Dream List of all the things she wanted for her life, including a happy marriage and a family. But at 29, Ollie is single, living at home with her over-protective and manipulative mother, and is feeling like her dreams are getting further out of reach. It’s time for a change. It’s time to take matters into her own hands.

Without telling her mum, or more importantly, asking her permission, Ollie finds the perfect place to start her new life. End Cottage has a duck-egg blue front door, a garden that leads to acres of forest, and definitely counts as her dream home.

Now all Ollie has to do is complete the rest of her list and find out who she really is, before she can imagine any romance coming into her life. After all, how is she going to find her dream man in the middle of a forest?

*****

Thanks to Boldwood for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I was a little concerned at times that perhaps there were a bit too many topics in this book: controlling parents, grooming, relationship problems, illiteracy, mental illness, lonely neighbours, physical illness, drug and alcohol abuse…I was debating if it was all needed, but in the end, I felt it gave a good cross-section of the good and bad of humanity, but it is a fine line.

I do feel Beth ripped into my soul and wrote my life story. Okay so it’s not all true, my mum isn’t as manipulative as she is and I don’t have a hunky forest ranger for a neighbour, but I am a 29 year old, single woman living with mother, desperate to move out and into a quaint little cottage, and find that perfect someone to spend it with.

I’ll admit, I didn’t feel as strongly about the characters as I would have liked to, they felt a bit so-so, but there were definitely one or two I explicitly disliked, regardless of any redeemable scenes.

It is a sweet easy-going rom-com. It is light hearted but touches on difficult topics. I think there were some subplots that were weaker than others, and some I’d have liked more focus on, but that’s personal preference. Overall though, it is enjoyable, comforting and easy to read in front of the fire with a large glass of wine.

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