Monday, February 20, 2017

What It Takes: A Kowalski Reunion Novel by Shannon Stacey

Up front, in the subtitle in fact, we're told that this is a Kowalski Reunion novel and are thus forewarned that there will be a LOT of catch up with the Kowalski family. Normally this really bugs me in a story because that means that the main story will suffer. However, Ms. Stacey manages to make the "main story" about a new Kowalski employee and a local boy-returned-home feel like a fully formed novella in amongst a rather extended epilogue for almost every other of the nine previous Kowalski books. As long as you go in expecting that this will not be a fully developed story, you won't be disappointed.
Laney Caswell just got out of a marriage where she was deeply unhappy because she sublimated her own needs for those of her husband. Now, she's spending the summer at the Kowalski camp trying to figure out who she is without a man. She definitely is not interested in getting involved with anyone. When she sees Ben Rivers and electricity strikes but Laney wants to make sure that she finds herself before she gets involved with anyone else.
Ben Rivers is thirty-eight and ready to settle down. His work as a paramedic has been hard and so he played hard too. Now that he's moved home, he's realizing exactly how much he's missed. He is incredibly attracted to Laney but is willing to step back in order to give her room to make her own decisions.
And that's why this book is so good. Both Ben and Laney have adult conversations about what they want and each respects the other. I wish we had gotten some more background on both and the myriad updates about the Kowalskis and their friends got confusing, even to someone who read all the stories, but it was overall a very nice story for regular Kowalski readers.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out February 28

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