“I was the first man she’d been attracted to since her husband, and if I wanted the chance to explore things with her, I couldn’t spook her by moving too fast.
I didn’t know where we’d end up… But I wanted the chance to find out.
HOLY SWOON!!! This was one of the best books I’ve read this year!! I absolutely loved it! As many of you know, Devney Perry has quickly skyrocketed right to the very top of my favorite authors list in the last year since she began writing. All five books in her amazing Jamison Valley series became instant top recommendations of mine and so when that series wrapped up and I heard that she was writing an unrelated standalone novel, I immediately knew I wanted to read it before even knowing what it was about. Then I read the blurb and was hooked!
Happily married to her college sweetheart, Poppy lived a blessed life with the husband of her dreams. Then everything changed. She is no longer a wife. She is no longer the envy of her single friends. Now, people look at her with pity as they whisper a single word behind her back.
Years after her husband’s tragic death, years of pain and sorrow and wishing for the life she’ll never get back, Poppy decides to finish Jamie’s birthday list. She’ll do the things he wanted to most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can complete his list, she can start to live again.
Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who delivered the news of her husband’s death and shattered her heart be the one to help her put it back together again?
Sounds amazing, right??
Well, I’m happy to say that it WAS amazing!!
This was SUCH a sweet, beautifully written and moving love story — a slow-burning romance full of heart, healing, and happiness. This story truly showed how, even after the most devastating of losses, it was still possible to find a second chance at love without forgetting past, but rather just focusing on living the future to its fullest potential.
[My brother] threw his arm around my shoulders and hugged me to his side. “It’s okay to always love Jamie.”
“I always will.” Always.
“But maybe you can love someone else too.”
Cole was such an incredibly patient, gentle, and understanding hero. He’d had first-hand understanding of the pain she was going through and he still felt a measure of guilt for his part in bringing her that pain so even though he was completely smitten with her, he took things as slow as possible, understanding that she wasn’t ready to move on but hoping that one day she would be and that he’s get his change to show her how much she truly meant to him.
Every day, I was getting stronger. I was getting back on my feet. I was starting to live again — for me.
And until the list was done, I’d still be living for Jamie.
“Look.” Cole leaned his elbows on the table. “I don’t want to step on your toes. This is an awesome list and he had some cool ideas. If you want to do them on your own, I understand I get that this is incredibly personal. But if you’d like, I’d be glad to help you with some of these.
“What?” I didn’t know what made me smile more. That he thought Jamie’s list was cool or that he wanted to help. Regardless, I was beaming. “You’d really help?”
Cole’s eyes were sparkling again. “In a heartbeat.”
I loved the way he respected and accepted Jamie’s part in her past and not only understood that he’d always have a place in her heart but he also never once tried to replace him. And most especially, I loved how attune he was to where she was at with her healing. He couldn’t have handled things better.
“I like you,” she told her fingers. “I like you a lot.”
The tension rushed out of my shoulders and I let out a breath. She likes me. This was good. No, this was fucking great. If she was actually willing to acknowledge her feelings for me, my uphill battle might start to level out. “I like you a lot too.”
“But I —“
“Wait.” My finger flew to her lips. “Let me stay something before you take away the best feeling I’ve had in weeks.”
She smiled against my skin.
“I’m not trying to take Jamie’s place or erase his memory or make you forget that you loved him. I’m just trying to explore this thing between us.”
The fact that this story took place five years after Jamie’s death was really important to me because I feel like that time span and how long it took Poppy to even consider moving on gave strong validity to the love she had for him and I really respected that. She was a wonderful heroine and it was very heart-warming to see her heal over the course of this book. And by the time she was ready to take a chance with Cole, I really believed in her feelings for him and it felt incredibly genuine.
While the romance is understandably slow burning at first, it was also incredibly sweet, swoony and even sexy once they began to get serious. I found the pacing to be very believable and it worked really well for this story.
“Jamie would have wanted you to be happy and have love in your life. And I think it’s time for you to open your heart again to that possibility.”
The story is told in first person alternating POV’s between Cole and Poppy, and it has an epilogue. This book is a complete standalone – unrelated to any of the other books by this author.
The Birthday List is definitely going on my Top Favorite Books of 2018 list! It was deeply romantic and full of feels. A low angst, no drama read about two people falling in love and finding their way to the happily-ever-after they both deserved. There was a bit of mystery and buckets of swoon. A sweet, satisfying romance that’ll leave you smiling!
Also, I just have to say, that Devney Perry literally has the best book covers I’ve EVER seen (for all her books). They’re just absolutely gorgeous and elegant and reflect each book so perfectly! I seriously love them!
Rating: 4.5+ stars. Contemporary Adult Romance Standalone.