In a Jam (Unabridged)
When Shay Zucconi’s step-grandmother died, she left Shay a tulip farm—under two conditions.
First, Shay has to move home to the small town of Friendship, Rhode Island. Second—and most problematic since her fiancé just called off the wedding—Shay must be married within one year.
Marriage is the last thing in the world Shay wants, but she’ll do anything to save the only real home she’s ever known.
Noah Barden loved Shay Zucconi back in high school. Not that he ever told her. He was too shy, too awkward, too painfully uncool to ask out the beautiful, popular girl.
A lifetime later, Noah is a single dad to his niece and has his hands full running the family business. That old crush is the farthest thing from his mind.
Until Shay returns to their hometown and turns his life upside down.
CW/TW: absentee parent(s), brief mention of parent death, brief mention of parent chronic illness, mention of incarceration, mention of temporary foster care placement, reference to teenage teasing/bullying (not detailed, not explicit), brief incidence of fat-shaming, living with a neurodivergent child.
Produced by One Night Stand Productions.
5 ⭐️s - This one is totally my jam…
This story was just a great time all around. It included some of my favorite tropes employed by a skilled author in a compelling way - HS friends to lovers as adults; inheritance with strings attached; relationship of convenience.
Both of the MCs are delightful and their connection and reconnection are handled in believable ways. Shay is a bit adrift and has never really felt at home except for the farm, and her going back there provides a setting and scenario that really showcases her growth. Noah is a bit grumbly/growly, which I love and a male character type that Canterbary is particularly adept at crafting (insert your favorite Walsh brother here ❤️). He’s a dirty talker - so hot! - and there is strong physical chemistry between him and Shay. But he is also super sweet (keeping the notes!), and has both a humorous and softer side that we get to see when he’s with Gennie. She is a firecracker; kids in romance are another one of those elements that needs a deft hand and that was certainly the case here. Another highlight is Shay’s gal pals, especially Jamie, who were hilarious and added another layer to Shay, - maybe even making her more likable - and I really hope they pop up in their own stories.
The downs for me were mostly around Shay’s insecurities; there were times when I wanted her reactions or behavior to move more quickly beyond them. Especially when she had such a great support system in her friends, those reactions sometimes felt out of step. The scene where she gets closure from her ex was a little OTT, but it worked and I certainly hated him as much as the author wanted me to!
The narrator performances were stellar. Kit Swann especially was just superb and her performance made me forgive Shay’s flaws more quickly than reading alone might have done. Jason Clarke is always at the top of his game and his turn as Noah was no different. He has just about cornered the market on grumbly/growly delivery - it’s a feast for the ears!
Final verdict: this one is very much recommended.
I received an ALC via Home Cooked Books. All opinions are my own.
Wonderful Story & Narration🎧 Charming & Heartwarming!
This book was amazing, and I loved everything about it, from Kate Canterbary wonderful writing style to the fabulous characters and storylines she created to the perfectly cast narrators who bring it all to life from the pages to the ears. The story not only captivated my attention the entire time, but it tugged on my heartstrings too. I laughed, I cried, but mostly laughed, because the witty dialogue is both brilliant and hilarious with the best coming out of the mouth of a naughty and troublesome little girl who has the mouth of a sailor, there is an innocence and genuineness about her that makes it is easy to overlook what comes out of her mouth. The characters are realistic, easy to relate to and connect with and you can not help but fall in love with them, especially Imogen, aka Gennie. Shay Zucconi’s fiancé never showed up on her wedding day, leaving her broken-hearted. Soon after, she finds out she inherited her step-grandmother’s tulip farm, an inheritance that comes with two conditions, having to move to move there, a small town of Friendship, Rhode Island and to be married within a year. The timing could not be more perfect for her to get away, so she goes to there and plans to stay for the year, and it will only be the year because marriage will not happen for her. When she gets to the farm, she runs into an obstacle and couldn’t enter the property. She saw who obstacles belonged to and headed to the neighboring farm, Little Star Farms, to get them removed. And who she finds there is the last person she thought would be back in Friendship. It was not in his plans, but Noah Barden came back to the place he grew up and took over running the farm and turned it into a profitable business. He also became the guardian of his sister’s daughter, Gennie, who was a handful. It took a few minutes for Shay to realize who Noah was, the girl he has a crush on in High School and they shared some special times together. It was disappointing when she did not recognize him right away, but the way she handled and treated his niece, Gennie, was impressive. Shay was a kindergarten teacher and great with kids. When Noah learns about the stipulation of her inheritance and her idea of what to bring to the farm, he offers to marry her, besides he has some ideas of his own for the land. She gets on board with the idea but wants to keep it to themselves, mostly for the sake of Gennie, who she agreed to help. It was great watching these two get to know each other again, it was also great to see the bond Shay and Gennie shared. This wonderfully plotted story has the perfect balance of drama, humor, some heart-rending moments, heartfelt emotions, and a steamy romance and love that was meant to be. Kate Canterbary, thank you for another amazing story and emotional rollercoaster ride.
🎧📚🎧 And for the fantastic narration, Jason Clarke and Kit Swann were the perfect cast to bring these characters and story to life. They had a complete understanding of the characters they were portraying, gave each a voice that suited their persona and were believable in every role they played. Clarke nailed it as Noah, from his seriousness and brooding demeanor to his bossiness. Swann’s Shay was perfection, she grasped all sides of her personality, from her vulnerability to her strength and determination. Both were great voicing and performing the roles of the secondary characters and the show stealer herself, Gennie. They set the perfect tone for the story, handled the witty dialogue with ease and landed the humor effortlessly. You could hear how much heart they put into their work as they captured all the character’s emotions and projected them into their performance. These versatile voice artists are entertaining storytellers and a pleurae to listen to. Thank you for this amazing listen.