Feb 25

When August Ends by Penelope Ward Review



From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new standalone novel.

What do you do when a sexy, older man moves into your family’s summer rental?

Well, apparently, you make a fool of yourself—over and over. Things didn’t exactly get off on the right foot with Noah Cavallari. Our first encounter was embarrassing, to say the least.

But despite that, I found myself waking up every day with a newfound energy. Nothing exciting ever happened on the lake—not until Noah moved into the small boathouse on our property. He’d booked it for the entire summer…and I was still trying to figure out why.

When my mother became ill, I inherited the responsibility of making sure our guests were well taken care of. I should have been in college. Instead, I was living my best life…as a maid.

Dark, handsome, and mysterious, everything about Noah screamed forbidden.

I knew he was just passing through town for the summer.

I knew he was probably too old for me.

Yet, I was drawn to him.

Not to mention, he tried to save my life when he mistakenly thought I was drowning.

I wanted him and made no secret of it.

His own attempts to warn me away soon gave way to late-night moonlight chats by the lake. We were slowly easing into a friendship that was gearing up to explode into something I might not recover from.

Because he’s leaving at the end of the summer.

And I have no idea what I’ll do when August ends.

* * * * * * * * * *


I’m going to be honest here and say the whole older man, younger woman trope isn’t one of my top favorites. But something about this blurb grabbed my attention, and I was looking forward to this story, albeit a bit tentatively. The heroine, Heather, is billed as an awkward, bumbling young girl making a fool of herself in front of the hot older guy, but that just wasn’t how I saw her. I saw a young woman being brave enough to take a few risks, put herself out there for something she wanted. I was impressed by her reactions – or lack thereof – to his rejections. She didn’t pout, throw a tantrum, slink off or hold a grudge. She took in what he had to say, she processed it, and instead offered him her friendship. Heather’s back story isn’t an easy one, but it’s made her wiser, stronger, more experienced in some areas while still retaining a bit of youthful naivete, wonder and exuberance in others. Heather was mature well beyond her years, and while I normally have a hard time connecting with a heroine so young, this character endeared herself to me quickly, and I definitely grew to respect her.

Noah took me a bit to warm up to as well. He was unapproachable and gruff at first, but as the story unfolds, I couldn’t help but fall under his spell. He was generous and kind, and though he fought it mightily, he ultimately couldn’t stop his building feelings for Heather. In true Penelope Ward fashion, though, this is a slow burning romance, and Noah and Heather initially forge a friendship as they repress their feelings for each other. But it was through that friendship that they really got to know each other, and the buildup of their love story was sweet and satisfying and sizzling with chemistry.

I enjoyed Noah and Heather’s journey to happily-ever-after. I couldn’t help but root for this couple once their story evolved, and I was practically bouncing in my seat when their friendship turned to romance. A sweet and sexy, slow burn journey to true love, Penelope Ward’s When August Ends gets four smooches from me!

~Danielle Palumbo




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