Full transparency, guys! I started reading the second book in the Moonflower Cove series before I started reading State of Grace. I was so sucked into the second book that I was almost disappointed I had to return to its predecessor. But, State of Grace more than made up for my temporary upset.
Blake Calloway, a television reality star seems to have it all. A successful career as an actress, a hit sci-fi show — fame, money, success, she has it. But what she doesn’t have is a relationship with her mother. After her father passed, the lies he has told her for her entire life begin to come unraveled. Her mother did want her — she didn’t just give up on her and start a new family! Between shows, and feeling more than a bit listless, she does the unthinkable and goes to Moonflower Cove to reconnect with her mom. What Blake couldn’t have anticipated was meeting Alexis Holland. A single mom, a huge fan of hers, and she works at her mom’s bar. In a way, the stars had aligned for them to meet. But it’s up to them to make it work. Blake knows a day will come that she has to leave, but she couldn’t have prepared for how many reasons she’d have to stay in Moonflower Cove.
I will start off by saying there are trigger warnings for this story. From Addison Clarke’s Goodreads page:
For those of you who are familiar with my content, and with my writing, you know that I love a good slow burn. I like there to be tension. I want it to be dragged out until I’m screaming for something. Anything. A brush of a hair, or a private smile. I want to be at the edge of my seat making squeezing motions to smash their faces into each other so they can just kiss.
Clarke did a wonderful job in establishing a slow burn. There was plenty of attention to detail, and just as many reasons for them not to give in to temptation. As a story, it was incredibly sound.
Clarke’s writing style is beautiful. It’s simple with just the right amount of poetry thrown in to make you swoon.
Further, her side characters were incredibly likable. Even when you wanted to scream and shake them, they were memorable. I felt like I knew them — not just that they reminded me about someone I knew, but like I knew them. Which, in itself is wonderful.
With first novels, there are often “growing pains” that the writers have to go through. It’s almost always the pacing — Hell, some established authors with fifty years of experience struggle with pacing. This book was no exception. It did move a bit slower at the beginning than I would have liked (an issue that I know, for a fact, was corrected with Someday, Maybe, the second installment of the series).
There was a substantial amount of “telling” and “not showing.” Meaning that the bulk of the feelings we were seeing/feeling were manufactured through internal dialogue, and less with the couple. The only reason this book isn’t a five-star from me is because I just wished for just a bit less description. I wanted an air of mystery — I wanted their dialogue and mannerisms to twist my insides. Though, I suspect that most of my grievances were remedied in Clarke’s later works!
Overall, Addison Clarke did a stunning job with this book, and I greatly look forward to reading the rest of the series!
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