Since the day Lacey Reed was cinched into her costume stays, working at Spring Creek living museum has made her happier than she ever thought she could be in small-town Beechworth. When her best friend and co-worker Jen Fraser proposed that they settle down together, Lacey had readily agreed—Jen adored Lacey’s seven-year-old daughter, and the life Jen offered was more than Lacey could ever have dreamed.
But there’s just one small problem. Lacey has carried a torch for Jen for eight agonizing years. She just didn’t think that, four months into their engagement, Jen would still be completely oblivious to the fact that she set Lacey’s heart twitching in her chest every time she so much as stepped into the same room.
When a ghost from the past arrives in Beechworth, suddenly, what once seemed like a simple arrangement becomes far more complicated than they ever imagined.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"I have a very vivid childhood memory of selecting boiled lollies in the confectionery store of a now defunct living history museum when in walked a costumed performer—the formidable town ‘doctor’. Tipping his top hat, the ‘doctor’ drew the handle of his cane around the store—he needed a volunteer for his next dentistry demonstration. You could have heard a pin drop. We’d all seen the ghastly Victorian instruments inside his ‘surgery’—it wasn’t just the children holding their collective breath in The Old Lolly Shoppe that morning.
Life’s magic is that, regardless of age, we all tumble head-first into fiction, whether the gates of storytelling come in the form of open-air museum turnstiles or the cover of a new release. Into The Commitment crucible went the following ingredients: memories of that mid-winter morning and a terrifying ‘doctor’, a dash of fauxmance and friends-to-lovers, a pinch of unrequited love that perhaps isn’t so unrequited after all, and one too many hours of research into Victorian candle-making. Oh, and if anybody has any questions about the evolution of the crinoline, you know where to find me."
I always enjoy Hale’s writing and this was no exception. This book grabs you and doesn’t want to let you go. If anything, I wish it would have been longer. I was involved with these characters and I wanted to keep reading their story. Also, the living museum idea was genius. In my opinion, Hale is four for four with her books and I think that is really impressive for someone with a newer writing career. I have not been disappointed by any of her books yet and I hope I never will. I love romance authors that are a little different from the norm and to me that fits Hale perfectly. I love her unique ideas and settings and it always makes me wonder what she could be writing for us next. If you are looking for an angsty slow-burn romance, this book is for you. 4.25 Stars.
Meike V. - I’m a fan of Hale’s books, so reading this book was a no brainer for me. I like how she can create realistic flawed characters set in a very specific environment and atmosphere that always seems to be a bit different from most wlw books and this book is an excellent example of that. In short, another excellent addition to Hale’s list of novels, I easily recommend this if you’re looking for a well written angsty romance.
Betty H. - The characters in this tale are very realistic. In fact this is probably one of the most realistic love stories I’ve read. While both mains are beautiful (especially in each other’s eyes), they have their very human flaws and idiosyncrasies. Jen has chronic medical problems that sometimes affect her sense of self-worth. Both Jen and Lacey have trust issues because of their individual pasts. Add in an age gap and financial disparity, and this potential relationship has some major hurdles to overcome. This novel really is about a couple learning that while love and friendship are very important, they are not enough.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jen and Lacey’s journey to form a lasting bond. I recommend this novel to all who love angsty love stories.
Cheryl D. - I spent a good part of this book trying to look for cracks in the pavement. Was it really as good as I was feeling, or at some point was the mojo going to run out and shove me into a land of bland? I'm very happy to say there was no crack and there was no bland. This was perfectly balanced, weighted with vivid reality and challenges. I loved it.