Review of The Breakup Plan by Jill Shalvis

Possibly the “can’t win them all” entry? Read on.

Blurb: When Alice receives a call about an unexpected windfall, she’s stunned to learn the gift is a falling-apart-at-the-seams old Wild West B&B she once considered home—and she’s inherited it along with two strangers. Except they weren’t always strangers. Once upon a time, they were friends. One is her ex-BFF Lauren. The other is Knox, the only guy to ever break her heart, all while never even knowing she existed.

It turns out their lives are unknowingly entangled because they once separately helped the same woman without expecting anything in return. Years later, Alice, Lauren, and Knox are broken in their own way, with their own history—and secrets— causing them to start out on the wrong foot with each other. But according to the will, they must renovate and be partners in the inn for one year or else lose their inheritance.

Stuck together, they make a list of rules to keep the peace—rules that end up doing the opposite, but by some miracle they find what they didn’t even know they were looking for—acceptance, true friendship, and in a case (or two!), true love.

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What do you do when one of your favorite authors frustrates you and bores you and your review is part of a book tour? Well, you hope that no one who’s part of the book tour actually notices that you’re posting late in the day and that somehow they completely overlook your review. Although, let’s be honest: a mundane Jill Shalvis offering is still better than the best books of a lot of authors out there.

So, let’s talk The Backup Plan.

Like many of Shalvis’ plots, The Backup Plan is well thought-out and promising. Three individuals inherit a B&B from a manipulative woman who just happens to have the biggest heart to go along with all of that controlling. Alice and Lauren used to be best friends but the death of Alice’s brother and a bevy of secrets estrange the pair. And, Alice always had a massive crush on Knox. There is a lot of tension, which is good (for the reader, well, sometimes).

Unfortunately Alice has never met an emotionally challenging situation she hasn’t wanted to runaway from so she spends much of the book running. On the second to last running, I wished she’d just continue. Run, Alice, run! On the last one, I rolled my eyes. It was far too late for the epiphany Alice has. For me, anyway.

Knox is a typical Shalvis hero: alpha but with a hint of sensitivity and observation, enough so that he notices important things about other people. I believe it’s supposed to be praise-worthy that he falls for Alice, but I found it to be more puzzling. I chuckle at the thought, but what would the fall out have been if he’d ended up with the lovely Lauren?

Lauren is a sweetheart and I really wish that more time had been devoted to her.

Lastly, I hate to admit it but I was a tad bored with The Backup Plan. Although written with Shalvis’ trademark humor and charm, it just couldn’t move beyond the predictability and abrasiveness of Alice, the main character. Perhaps if Alice and Lauren had been smooshed into one character, events might have been more interesting.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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