With Nobody But You, bestselling author Jill Shalvis is three books into her “Cedar Ridge” series, but newcomers are welcome.
The story of Jacob Kincaid and Sophie Marren isn’t bogged down with introductions to past characters or drawn out explanations of previous storylines. Instead, it’s fast-paced story of second chances that’s filled with humor and a dash of angst. They are surrounded by a quirky canvas of people who make Cedar Ridge an interesting place.
Sophie is divorced and living on the boat she took from her ex-husband in the divorce. She hates the boat, but was standing on principle when she demanded it as part of her settlement.
Homeless — except for the boat — nearly broke and underemployed, Sophie spends an inordinate amount of time looking for a place to dock overnight without getting a ticket or paying a fee.
That’s how she runs into Jacob in a delightful “meet cute.” She anchors overnight at the dock in front of his cabin. Sophie first thinks Jacob is lake patrol and later mistakes him for his identical twin.
Jacob was 18 when he stormed away from Cedar Ridge, leaving behind his twin, Hudson, and several half-siblings — the father of these collective siblings was anything but faithful. The twins spoke to each other in anger, as only 18-year-olds could, and Jacob joined the Army.
Shalvis does a masterful job of weaving these disparate stories together. Sophie and Jacob build a relationship as she comes to grips with the fact that she allowed herself to become lost while married to her worthless ex-husband. Sophie is a real character, a young woman who somehow misplaced herself and her needs as she tried desperately to meet everyone else’s.
Jacob, who’s home on leave after a deadly military operation, learns the value of family and the power of forgiveness. The angry teenager has been replaced by a man looking for a place where he fits.
The writing is strong with witty dialogue. Nobody But You is a good reason to get acquainted with Cedar Ridge.
Jean Marie Brown, Special to the Star-Telegram
Nobody But You
By Jill Shalvis
Grand Central Publishing, $30.99