Review: The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron (2020)

Heat Factor: It’s not a crackling fire, it’s a warm glow

Character Chemistry: They start off as mismatched, secretly-attracted friends that grow into something more very slowly.

Plot: The plot here really is the romance and only the romance. Jude and Iris fall in love very beautifully, but if you’re looking for outside forces or exciting context, that isn’t part of this love story.

Overall: This is a very lovely book and I enjoyed it a great deal (even if I longed for more).

Iris is a marketing student who leaves Boston after she finds she’s stuck and unable to afford living there any longer–so she moves home to Salty Cove, Maine, to live with her parents (who are shockingly really happy about it–I don’t see that narrative very often in books). Jude has moved into her parents’ old house since they moved away in retirement. She has something very heavy in her past and the grief of that heavy thing compels her to stay separate from others, work incredibly hard on her small crabbing boat, and live very simply.

Jude kind of hopes Iris will stay away (but of course, not really) and Iris can’t help but bring pie and sunshine over. Before long, Iris starts to unravel Jude’s stark solitude and brings joy and sunshine back into her life–but it isn’t long before Jude puts up some temporary, half-hearted walls. 

Ultimately, I really wanted to see some kind of plot unfolding with the community to anchor this love story. There was a lot of potential with the owner of the restaurant and the LGBTQ Community Group, but nothing really created enough pull. It really ended up feeling like the characters were kind of floating in their own separate bubble and while it was a lovely bubble, it wasn’t quite as engaging as it could have been.

However! I’d still be very interested in reading more by Chelsea Cameron.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon

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