Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a review. This is a copy of the review left on Goodreads.
Lessons Learned is a sweet debut novel from Sydney Logan. It’s got a strong but still emotional heroine who has seen more than she ever really wanted. There’s a gorgeous hero who is confident and almost instantly adoring. And there’s a town that is a character in and of itself.
What I found most fascinating about this book was the way this last “character” evolved in presentation and function for the first-person narrator, Sarah Bray (Our Heroine). The town was familiar and soothing to a degree for a psyche that’s been wounded. There are familiar friends, familiar places, and a much-beloved house to welcome Sarah home. As the largely homogenous community of Sycamore Falls is presented with differences, though, we see the stagnant and dirty underbelly of this white-picket-fence mountain community. While it’s a sweet town, it seems to be one of those “good places to be from.”
Without spoiling anything, let me just say that though I was not a fan of the heroine in the beginning (though Lucas is swoony!) she grew on me over the course of the story. She grew stronger in herself and the love of a good man gradually brought her to a healthier place. It is to Sydney Logan’s credit that she could write such a heroine who provoked my instant “oh PUHLEEZE” response and bring me around to “aw, isn’t she a sweetie?” before the story’s end.
The big controversy in the story is not the Big Controversy in the story; rather it’s how each person responds to events and circumstances that make them uncomfortable. In the end, I don’t know if Sycamore Falls really “learned the lesson” intended. But I know that Sarah did and her story of healing is beautiful. And she gets Lucas in the bargain. 😉
There are some delightful details in this story that tickled me, just as there were other aspects that I think were drawn too heavily. Still, I had tears in my eyes by the end of this story and am writing a review way past my bedtime because I wanted to type while my Kindle was hot. 🙂
I look forward to seeing what the author produces next!