Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Book Review: "Life on Loan" by Ashley Farley

This book was so warm and sweet, it charmed me completely. You can't beat a book that does that!

Have you ever thought of running away from home? (As an adult, I mean.) Was there ever a time when you thought, if only I could leave all of this behind and just take off for someplace else and start over? Sure, it may have seemed impossible to fathom given everything that would need to be done before you could actually run away, but did the thought make you feel better, even for a split second?

When Lena and Olivia meet in an Atlanta airport lounge, both are on the verge of running away from their current lives. Lena has had it with her abusive husband and selfish daughter, and needs to find her own way after having to do everything for everyone else with little appreciation. Olivia has been living in the aftermath of a painful divorce, and the successful blog she has created has put her in an untenable position with two wannabe socialites, so she needs to escape.

The two women knew each other casually in college, but even though they haven't seen each other in years, they each sense a kindred spirit in the other, a soul desperately in need of rescue. When their initial escape plans are foiled by weather, they hatch a plan together.

"For the next thirty days, the month of October, you'll stay in my cottage in the Northern Neck and I'll stay in your waterfront condo in Charleston. We'll indulge ourselves—eat whatever we want, sleep late, and leave our beds unmade if so desired. We'll follow our hearts to wherever they may lead us."

And that's exactly what they do. Their getaways take different paths. Lena is determined to regain confidence in her photography skills and wants to become more dedicated to diet and exercise. When she meets another photographer willing to take her under her wing, she jumps at the chance—although she doesn't know the positive and negative things which will come of such an arrangement. But she falls head over heels in love with Charleston and the possibilities of a life there.

Olivia needs to find the confidence to write again, as she knows there's a novel deep inside her, but she just has to coax it to the surface. Nervous about her financial situation and still reeling from the end of her marriage, time in the sedate Northern Neck of Virginia is exactly what she needs, especially when she meets Alistair, Lena's childhood best friend who lives in the cottage next door. Alistair awakens feelings Olivia hasn't had in so long, but he has issues of his own to deal with. And is a fling what she needs?

Ashley Farley's Life on Loan is tremendously enjoyable, a bit melodramatic, and utterly compelling. I really liked these characters despite their foibles, and couldn't get enough of them. It's always great to root for characters and care about what happens to them, and if nothing in the plot seemed overly surprising, it didn't matter one bit. This was a quick, fun read that would be perfect for the beach, a plane ride, or just relaxing in your favorite spot.

I am fortunate to be part of the blog tour for Life on Loan. My thanks to Kate Rock Book Tours, NetGalley, and Lake Union Publishing for providing me a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. I really enjoyed it!

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