Lovestruck by Allie KeaneLovestruck by Allie Keane is a friends to lovers romance. It is a lovely reminder that the love of your life might be right under your nose.

Colleen returns to the small town where she grew up in order to scatter her mother’s ashes. She finds solace in her oldest friend, Molly. Colleen had always had a bit of a crush on her best friend, but she kept that concealed. After Molly married and had a child, Colleen accepted that friendship was all that she and Molly would ever share.

Molly is desperately trying to make ends meet. It is no easy feat. She is a single mother, buried under a mounting pile of debt. She is resigned to taking on a second job to ensure that she and Ellie don’t wind up on the street.

During their long weekend of reminiscing, Colleen recognizes that the crush she had on her best friend is alive and well. Most surprising, however, is that Molly suddenly understands that she too has a certain attraction to her childhood friend. These are feelings that Molly is powerless to ignore. When they share a kiss, they realize that they no longer can just be friends.

Can Colleen and Molly make a long-distance relationship work? Busy lives, poor cell phone reception, and hundreds of miles seem to make it impossible. Should they just go back to being friends, or will they be able to find a way to make their love last?

The Characters

From the outset, Collen and Molly just fit. Because this is a friends to lovers romance and the two women grew up together, there is a certain ease about them. There isn’t an awkward dating phase, and when they get together, it feels completely natural.

When we first meet Colleen, her mother has just passed away from a long battle with cancer. The grief that envelopes Colleen touched me deeply. I found myself welling up with tears over her loss. Colleen has spent the last few years in the role of primary caregiver, so after her mother’s death, Colleen realizes that her life has become quite solitary. One of her mother’s last requests was for Colleen to find her joy. Colleen sees that her career has been the focus of her life, and she’s let all of her friendships fall by the wayside. The only person that can help her process her grief is her lifelong best friend, Molly. It was compelling to watch Colleen drop her professional façade and slip back into the effortless friendship that she thought was a thing of the past.

For me, Molly is the more complex of the two main characters. She was abandoned by her mother when she was a small child, and her husband deserted her and Ellie not long after Ellie was born. Molly is used to being left and believes that the only thing she can count on is her love for her daughter and her determination to be the mother that she never had. I like that Molly had no problem falling for Colleen, despite the fact she had never been with a woman before. Keane made this a non-issue, and that made me like Molly even more. She was in love with Colleen, and the fact that they were the same gender made no difference. I also felt nothing but compassion for Molly when she decided to call it quits with Colleen. For Molly, it was better to leave than be the one that got left. Emotionally, Molly had a lot more to lose in this relationship than Colleen, so if there was going to be any obstacle standing in the way of their happiness, I suspected that it would come from Molly and her guarded heart.

The Writing Style

Keene wrote this story in third person intimate. The book is formatted in such a way that each chapter is labeled by the main character’s name, so it is absolutely clear whose point of view we are inhabiting. This avoids the age-old problem of trying to figure out who is speaking when the characters’ points of view bounce back and forth in the same scene.

Colleen and Molly have very different lives, and this informs the way they handle emotionally charged situations. Keane did a great job letting the reader in on the two women’s backgrounds without a lot of explanation. Their dialogue reflects the differences in their day-to-day lives quite nicely, and I felt like I ultimately got to know each of them as individuals and the two together as a couple.

The Pros

Even though this is a very sweet romance, Keane subtly conveys the fears and apprehension that both women struggle with. It’s a delicate balance, and she pulls it off with little bits of business and the internal dialogues that distract each woman during the course of her day.

I also enjoyed the immediate connection between Colleen and Ellie. Ellie’s acting out at school all but disappeared once she saw that Colleen was going to be a permanent fixture in her life.

The Cons

Nothing for me.

The Conclusion

I enjoyed this sweet book. It was refreshing to sit down with a low angst story that I could use to shut out the constant buzz of the world. I know, you’re thinking, “What?” But even I need a break from high drama every now and then. The book delivers two main characters that seem like they were made for each other, but isn’t that the hallmark of a good romance? While I knew from early on that Colleen and Molly were going to find their happily ever after and how that was going to get worked out, it didn’t take away from the fun I had along the way.

Excerpt from Lovestruck by Allie Keane

In her periphery, Colleen watched Molly rub sunscreen into her bare arms, then over her stomach and her upper chest. When Molly started—and struggled—to apply it to her back, Colleen felt her chest clench. She knew she should offer to help. But it suddenly felt too dangerous to.

What was going on with her? Sure, once upon a time she’d had a minor crush on Molly, but that had been ages ago. She’d long gotten over those feelings. Maybe she was feeling this way because she was so emotional right now; grief had that weird way of simultaneously numbing you and making you extra sensitive to things. Or maybe it was because Colleen hadn’t slept with a woman in—well, it was too depressing to actually figure out. But it had been a long time.

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Bits and Bobs

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