ARC review: Lured In by Laura Drewry

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This is my fifth book by Laura Drewry, and honestly, they just keep getting better.  I read Off the Hook, the first book in this series, earlier this year and fell in love with The Buoys, the O’Donnells, and Jessie Todd.  Reading Lured In just solidified Drewry’s place on my list of favorite authors.  I will read anything that she writes, and I can guarantee that I’ll love it.

In Off the Hook, we saw Liam O’Donnell and Kate Hadley revamp The Buoys, Liam’s family’s old fishing resort, into something more.  Now, in Lured In, they’ve gotten big enough to warrant a visit from a popular fishing tv show.  Everybody’s thrilled, except for Jessie, who used to date the host and is less than thrilled at the prospect of rekindling that romance.

Jessie’s relationship with Sam ended for a reason.  More than one, actually, if she’s honest.  While Sam might be the cutest and sweetest guy she’s ever met, and while Kate and Liam might be all for their reunion (and the publicity it would bring), Jessie was never actually that attracted to Sam.  They had next to nothing in common, and the fact that he lives his life touring around on boats didn’t quite mesh with her paralyzing fear of water.

Quite possibly the only good thing about that relationship is that it made Jessie see that she has to get over her fear.  So she asks her closest friend and the most patient person she knows, Finn O’Donnell, to help her out.  Jessie is so comfortable with Finn that just being near him calms her down, so it’s no surprise that, slowly but surely, she’s able to dip her toes in the water again.

While helping Jessie overcome her fear and get past the events that led to it, Finn also gets to talk out some of the traumatic events in his own past.  Watching these two finally trust someone enough to open up about their deepest fears made me so happy.  They have been carrying around some demons for decades, and I loved that they were able to start moving on.

This was such a nice friends-to-lovers story.  I liked that their relationship progressed naturally.  It’s not like a lightning bolt strikes Finn and suddenly he realizes that Jessie is gorgeous.  No, these two have always felt something for each other, even if they didn’t want to admit it.  When Finn’s father was alive, he would have forbidden any kind of romance between them.  Even now that he’s gone, Finn’s brothers would give him hell for going there.  Finn’s always been a bit of a player, and his family wouldn’t want Jessie to be next in the long line of broken hearts.

But the great thing is that Jessie doesn’t really care.  She knows about Finn’s history, and she thinks he’s worth it.  She knows why he acts the way he does, and she understands that commitment might be difficult for him.  But she’s willing to risk it, because Finn is her best friend, and he’s a great person, and their connection is electric.

Jessie and Finn are some of my favorite characters in recent memory.  I always say that Drewry’s characters feel like they could be real people, but it’s even more true for these two.  They’re not pawns being moved around for the author’s amusement.  They act like real people.  Their thoughts, actions, and reactions are real.

I loved these characters, I love this setting, and I love this author.  Every book I read from her is better than the last.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Final rating: ★★★★★

For my 2016 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #40: a book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free ARC!