Always Alex by Robin Alexander is a delightful friends to lovers romance about Dana Castilaw and Alex Soileau. Alex and Dana grew up together and were the very best of friends. What Dana didn’t know then was that every time they threw coins down Old Man Wicker’s well, Alex was wishing Dana would love her back.
Dana got the hell out of Barbier Point as soon as she could and didn’t look back until twenty years later when money problems meant asking for help from the same father who drove her away in the first place. Moving back to town is difficult for Dana and her daughter, Sydney, but finding out that Alex moved back a few years prior takes away some of the sting.
Alex is happy enough with her life. Homesickness brought her back to Barbier Point, and a difficult breakup and living in a small town has left her without a relationship or many prospects. She thought she’d gotten over Dana a long time ago, and yet spending time with her is bringing all those old feelings back. Dana is still straight, though, so she may as well accept for once and for all that they’ll never be more than friends.
The lazy part of me wants to say this is a Robin Alexander book. Of course I liked the characters! But I know that’s not enough for all you lovely readers.
Dana and Alex are delightful. Dana especially has quite the character arc as she figures out whether or not she’s straight, while also reflecting on the role Alex played in her life. Alex doesn’t have the same kind of journey, but she’s no less fully developed as a character. They work well as friends and there’s a chemistry there almost right from the moment of their reunion, even if Dana doesn’t see it and Alex thinks it’s just the echo of her old crush.
There a strong cast of side characters between Alex’s parents and grandmother, Dana’s daughter, her father and his housekeeper, and even a couple of Dana’s coworkers at her new job. Everyone adds a little something, whether by making you laugh or making you feel feelings.
The Writing Style
Always Alex is probably one of Robin Alexander’s funniest books, right up there with Just Jorie. It literally had me laughing out loud a bunch of times, even though I was rereading it to write this review. It’s a gentle book, even as it deals with trickier situations like Dana and her father working on their broken relationship or the angst Dana and Alex each feel at realizing their feelings for each other.
Everything worked for me. It’s funny and sweet and made me happy.
The cover doesn’t do this book a bit of justice. If the cover is turning you off, buy this book anyway because it’s a treat.
If you’re a fan of lighthearted, funny romance, definitely pick this one up. It’s well worth the read and I’ll be coming back to it regularly.
Excerpt from Always Alex by Robin Alexander
Sydney emptied her pockets and was about to toss a whole handful of change into the well. “New skateboard, camera, a gas tank that never goes empty, million bucks—”
Dana held up a finger. “Okay, you can’t just throw, there’s a method. One at a time, you drop your coin in, close your eyes, visualize the wish, and make it.”
“And you don’t tell what it is,” Alex added, “unless you don’t want it to come true. You go first, Sydney.”
“Y’all are so goofy.” Sydney stepped up to the well and dropped in her change despite Dana’s instruction. She closed her eyes for a second and held up a thumb. “I’m done.”
Alex gave Dana a nudge. She dropped her coin in and closed her eyes, but oddly couldn’t think of what she wanted to wish for. It seemed wrong to her to waste a wish on a need. She’d always believed that wishes were made for the heart. I wish for that perfect someone who will love me wholeheartedly and I love the same way. Someone special who will cherish my daughter. With a great sense of humor, great smile, who can cook…great in bed—”
Dana opened her eyes. “All right, I’m done, Ms. Impatient.” She handed Alex a coin. “Your wish is on me.”
“Thank you.” Without preamble, Alex tossed the coin in. Her eyes were only closed a second, then she too said, “Done.”
“That was a quick wish,” Dana said with a laugh.
Alex put a hand on her hip. “I wished that Maw Maw would behave herself, and we all know that isn’t gonna happen, so I don’t fear telling it.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781935216612
- Publisher: Intaglio Publications