Meet Me in Bendigo by Eva Scott
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Annalisa Cappelli is the last one standing - she runs the small hardware store that her family opened during the 19th century. But the arrival of a Carpenter's Warehouse, a chain hardware store, spells disaster. Why does Ed Carpenter, whose family is responsible, have to be so good looking? If only he could be more like GardenerGuy94, her online friend. Perhaps they're more alike than she realises...
Well, this book was always going to have a tough customer in me - I absolutely love You've Got Mail. But you know what? I enjoyed most of it. I'm so relieved to find a romance book that doesn't ignore or dance around the pandemic, but incorporates it into the storyline. Annalisa and Ed were great - but overshadowed by the delightful old guys and Annalisa's nonna.
Now. The big problem. Some lines of dialogue seemed to be copied and pasted straight from You've Got Mail. Mostly tweaked, occasionally verbatim. This was really off-putting to me. If I wanted to experience those scenes again, I could just watch the movie.
Meet Me in Bendigo shines the most when it stands on its own.
Alyce Caswell, when she isn't buried in a book or drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, is a keen writer of science fiction and romance. She has published two novels and four novellas in her space opera family saga, The Galactic Pantheon Series.