Release Review: The Family You Make: Jill Shalvis

by - Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Family You Make
(Sunrise Cove#1)
Jill Shalvis
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Release Date January 11, 2022

Beloved New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis begins a new series--Sunrise Cove--set near beautiful Lake Tahoe, with a heartwarming story of found family and love.

During the snowstorm of the century Levi Cutler is stranded on a ski lift with a beautiful stranger named Jane. After strong winds hurl the gondola in front of them into the ground, Levi calls his parents to prepare them for the worst...but can't bring himself to say goodbye. Instead, wanting to fulfill his mother's lifelong wish, he impulsively tells her he's happily settled and Jane is his girlfriend--right before his phone dies.

But Levi and Jane do not.

Now Levi's family is desperate to meet "The One." Though Jane agrees to be his pretend girlfriend for just one dinner, she's nervous. After a traumatic childhood, Jane isn't sure she knows how to be around a tight-knit family that cherishes one another. She's terrified, and a little jealous. But an unexpected series of events and a host of new friends soon show Jane that perhaps this is the life she was always meant to have.

As Jane and Levi spend more time together, pretend feelings quickly turn into real ones. Now all Jane has to do is admit to herself she can't live without the man she's fallen in love with and the family she has always dreamed of. 

Levi and Jane unexpectedly survive the unthinkable together. This prickly, quick-thinking nurse and analytical data analyst with a big protective streak took care of each other and lived to tell about it. 

But in a last-minute call to his family, Levi might have lied that he had a girlfriend. And Jane is the only woman that can save him from disappointing his meddling but loving family. But Jane is a loner. She has such abandonment and trust issues that she does not get close to people so they cannot send her away or hurt her. She is not the dating type or relationship material. She has one foot out the door ready to take on her next adventure. 

Levi understands not exactly fitting in as he is different from his family and left his hometown to get away and be his own man, but he understands the importance of home as well. He is perceptive, understanding, kind, patient, funny, and somehow gets her and actually likes her. And she ends up agreeing to help him to appease his family and spend time together with a built-in barrier.  But fake girlfriending gets more complicated when you actually like the guy you are fake dating and he seems to like you too. 

There is another enemies-to-love story brewing between her best friend and landlord, Charlotte, and their neighbor and Levi's old friend, Mateo. I was as invested in them as I was the main couple. Charlotte is guarded and untrusting as Jane when it comes to men and relationships. But she is the matriarch of her made family and has a big generous heart to spoil those she lets in. But she has been keeping Mateo pushed outside her walls. But Mateo is smart, patient, and determined to break them down piece by piece.  

This is a sweet, witty, emotional story of two stubborn, guarded women with fears and trust issues and two men who are willing to go the distance to prove that they are worthy of their trust. It is not a fast or easy process and requires patience to peel back their layers. So I will admit that sometimes it got a bit repetitive or it made me want to shake sense into the characters just a bit. It's about being vulnerable, trust, faith, home, and the heart of family. They truly need to allow others to see their messy parts so they can accept themselves and let someone in. All have histories that have hurt and damaged them in ways but together they have the potential to find hope and healing in order to move on and let love in.  

Sunrise Cove series

Jill Shalvis

Multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is … mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning heartwarming and full of humor novels wherever books are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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