The Sweetheart Bargain by Shirley Jump

The Sweetheart Bargain by Shirley JumpAvailable: Now Amazon/ B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

The Sweetheart Sisters, a trio of sassy, well-meaning grannies (who aren’t against a sip of bourbon with breakfast) are ready to dispense advice and help create happy endings with a little of what they do best—meddling.

Animal therapist Olivia Linscott is the Sweetheart Sisters’ first target. Running from a bad marriage and a lousy job, Olivia is determined to save the dog shelter she inherited from the mother she never knew and, above all, to protect her broken heart. The Sisters want to tie the spirited young do-gooder to wounded helicopter pilot Luke Winslow, but the intended pair keeps slipping the leash. Luke’s dreams were shattered by a career-ending eye injury. Adrift and bitter, the last thing he wants is romantic involvement. But when a golden retriever in worse shape than he is scratches on the door, the dog brings in a whole lot more than puppy love.

… So enjoyable and emotional, a romance about a broken man, a woman who never seems to get anything right and several meddlesome grandmothers that love happy endings. I truly enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to reading more about these fun ladies that help two stubborn people find love.

Olivia Linscott is changing her life, leaving Massachusetts and heading south after a lawyer gives her a mysterious envelope from her biological mother, a woman who left her in a Boston hospital and never contacted her. In the envelope is a will stating that Bridget Tuttle is leaving Olivia property in Rescue Bay, Florida. Unfortunately the cute bungalow from the picture turns out to be a disaster. The property has a rundown animal rescue center that has been closed for awhile and as she is inspecting the property she finds a dog that looks hurt and a grumpy neighbor next door, Luke.

Olivia is working at the Golden Years retirement home with her dog Miss Sadie, as an animal-assisted therapist and she has met some very interesting people. Greta Winslow (Luke’s grandmother) lives at the Golden Years retirement home with several other ladies that belong to a quilting club that gossips more than quilts. They have also recently started responding to letters written for the newspaper column called Common Sense Carla.

Luke was in the Coast Guard but a terrible accident permanently damaged his eyes and left his best friend and partner dead. He has walled himself in a world of darkness and self hate because he feels responsible.

As Olivia settles into her new place she comes face to face with Luke more times that she wants yet there is an attraction that they can’t deny. She also wants answers from Bridget who did not leave any, and meets an unexpected relative that is not happy to see her as she is hurting in her own way.

I really like this book, an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. Olivia has had more downs than anyone and even though her adoptive parents gave her a wonderful life and love her, she has always felt abandoned. When she meets both Luke and her sister Diana she does not feel any different as they both keep her at arm’s length and inadvertently hurt her on several occasions. I like Luke and you can feel the pain coming off him in waves, he not only is angry about his eyes; he blames himself for his friend’s death. Even when his friend, Mike comes to visit, Luke can’t seem to get out of the darkness. Luke and Olivia are great together and you can feel the bond that begins to form, if only Luke would let it. The romance is light as he pushes her away more times than not.

I enjoy the secondary characters and was glad to see other’s POV, especially Diana’s as she works through why her mother never told her about Olivia and why her mother gave her house to a stranger. Mike is a good friend and I like how the author weaves his presence into the story, he really helps Luke. I am glad to see the next book is about Diana and Mike. Did I say how much I love the quilting ladies, they are hilarious and so much fun, I am looking forward to seeing more of Greta, she is a hoot. The only problem I had is that several things were not resolved; I believe they may have more to do with Diana and since her story is next, I am hoping they will be wrapped up.

The pace of the story is well done; this is a lovely romance about two people that need help to move their lives forward and welcome love. I am definitely going to read the next in the series, just to see what Greta is up to.

I give The Sweetheart Bargain by Shirley Jump 4.0 stars!

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