I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Second in a series based in the small town of Angel Falls, The Way You Love Me,has plenty of charm. A single father hero, Cade, resettling into his hometown and a new job, finds himself unwilling attracted to one of his creative writing students. Gabby just hit thirty and made partner at her law firm but discovering a box of writings from a mother she lost at a young age, has her searching for ways to connect not only to her mother but herself.
Who was this man, who seemed kind of uptight and strict in the classroom but seemed so wonderfully vulnerable and human— not to mention sexy—after hours?
In a style, tone, and pace that felt like women's fiction, this also provided a good focus on the relationship trying to develop between Cade and Gabby. Cade's background of having a smaller family with dead beat father and absent ex-wife leaving him to care for his young daughter, provided great foundation for his not wanting to ask for help and self-contained personality. Gabby also was a flushed out character with a larger, strong, and self-sufficient family that left her feeling even more insecure about her desires to bounce from careers and hobbies, explaining her personality traits of not feeling good enough. The main characters were clearly well thought out and were the stronger for it.
This is second in a series and I'm wondering if characters from a connecting series make appearances as there were couples and plenty of friends that could be waiting in the wings for their own stories; I felt lost a few times with all the names. There is also a slight secondary romance brewing with Gabby's brother Rafe and her friend Katilyn that will capture you attention (it looks like their book is next in the series). The geographical setting of Angel Falls isn't really gotten into but the author has you feel the small town through the characters' relationships, which she did a good job of. The overall network of characters and how they feel about each other, emotions and connections, is a highlight and what I think people come for when they select small town romances, you'll get that here.
While friends and family connections were felt, I didn't fully grasp Gabby and Cade's connection. The author handled Cade being Gabby's teacher in a wonderfully mature way and while I think their beginning dance of touch and go took me in, the middle or meaty part of their relationship was missing for me. They kind of hop to instant attraction, sexual tension, then strong enough feelings to be together forever, a very rushed emotional aspect ending. I felt I didn't get to experience them interacting or bonding enough to believe in or enjoy them as a couple.
I'm not a huge fan of children in novels but Cade's daughter made enough appearances to bring the feels (Cade watching Youtube videos to figure out how to French braid her hair) but was absent enough to not interfere with the romance aspects. Cade's ex-wife, father, to some extent, and a few other secondary characters made quick little for drama's sake splashes but didn't quite have the time or depth for heavy emotional hits. I also thought Gabby's job seemed conspicuously absent, as she just made partner. However, if you read the first in the series or recognized characters from other books by the author, you'd probably enjoy the glimpses and human connections placed here instead of Gabby dealing with her job.
As I mentioned, this had plenty of charm, if not a lot of spark. The almost women's fiction feel, but with stronger focus on Gabby and Cade's romance relationship building, will provide a great slow down and lose yourself into a fictional small town world for a while. There were plenty of secondary characters to hope for future books and I myself need to find out what happens between Gabby's brother Rafe and her friend Kaitlyn in the next installment.