Tordotcom: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Twice Shy

In Sarah Hogle's slow-burn romance Twice Shy, Maybell Parish is prone to flights of whimsy, living in the cute diner in her head instead of living in reality. It's undoubtedly nicer in her imagination--in real life, she's in a dead-end job with a "best friend" who catfished her with the man of her dreams. When her great-aunt Violet passes away, it's just another blow on top of her bad life, but it comes with a silver lining. Violet's beautiful home and property in the Smokies, the one place Maybell felt safe as a child, are now hers. Maybell quits her job, ghosts her "friend," and moves her life to Falling Stars.

Unfortunately, Falling Stars isn't the dream Maybell remembers. Not only is the house in disrepair, her great-aunt neglected to mention in her will that she'd share the inheritance with the groundskeeper, Wesley Koehler--who is also the person her ex-friend used pictures of in order to catfish Maybell. Wesley is gruff, quiet and determined to convert Violet's home into an animal sanctuary. Both are grieving for Violet in different ways--Maybell at the lost opportunity to reconnect with the person who cared for her the most and Wesley at losing a friend who understood him. Though their relationship starts cold, things quickly warm as Wesley opens up, and Maybell disconnects the pictures that her friend catfished her with from the charming man in front of her. Hogle (You Deserve Each Other) writes a touching romance that explores Maybell's past and Wesley's social anxiety with care, coupling tough topics with a fluffy love story. --Amy Dittmeier, librarian