Title: Make Me Whole
Series: Oil Barrons #1
Author: Marie Johnston
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 18, 2022
I had a perfect life. Schoolteacher. Married to my high school sweetheart. Little starter house that we called charming but was really just old. All I needed was the two-point-five kids and I’d be living my perfect dream. Then my husband died.
After the funeral, I had a breakdown that lasted for a month…or twelve. But now I’m reemerging, healing, finding my way. It’s time to learn who I am now, and whether or not I can fix a leaky sink. And by my side, the entire time, is my husband’s best friend, Liam. The single dad knows a thing or two about personal struggles, and about how to replace faucets.
With Liam, I feel alive again. Confident. Capable. Liam has become my best friend too. Except if my parents, my in-laws, and the rest of the town had any say, I’d stay far away from him and his bad boy reputation.
How do I admit to them what’s so hard to admit to myself? That I’m starting to look at him like he’s more than a friend. That the heat in his eyes when he looks at me is far beyond friendly. That like it or not, Liam makes me feel whole again.
This was my first time reading Marie Johnston and I found myself quickly drawn into this widow/best friend romance. Kennedy is still grieving the loss of her husband a few years back and his best friend/cousin Liam still constantly checks on and offers support to Kennedy. Liam is considered the black sheep of their small town where Kennedy has always been spoiled and honestly, babied, by her over-protective mother and her in-laws. When they start noticing new feelings for one another, everyone is against it, making them choose between each other or keeping the peace in their small town.
First, I enjoyed the plot because it didn’t feel as if it were something I have already read a million times. I also really appreciated the author’s character development, making me truly love Liam and truly hate Kennedy’s in-laws, Liam’s father, and often, Kennedy’s mother.
What didn’t work for me was struggling to believe some of the things that occurred, such as Kennedy losing her job. People lose loved ones every day and I realize that everyone deals with grief differently, but I felt like this was a stretch. Or she needed to be hospitalized for a while. Either way, it was a bit much. Then there was Liam’s Dad’s hatred towards him and “control” of the town. That part also felt a bit overdone and I found myself rolling my eyes several times.
Anyway, Make Me Whole is a solid romance that will leave you content and with a happy heart. This is a slow-burn romance, however, so this may not be for you if you prefer quick/insta-love romances!
*Thanks to Give Me Books for providing a copy of this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59755256-make-me-whole
Apple Books: https://apple.co/32wjZ3F
Google Play: https://bit.ly/32wJ7Hp
#2 Make Me Shiver – Releasing May 17
Marie Johnston writes paranormal and contemporary romance. She also works as a medical laboratory scientist and has worked as a public health microbiologist. Depending on the situation, she can be oddly unconcerned about germs or weirdly phobic. Marie’s been a volunteer EMT, a college instructor, a security guard, a phlebotomist, a hotel clerk, and a coffee pourer in a bingo hall. All fodder for a writer!! She has a husband, four kids, and even more cats.