Keri Daniels is a career-focused tabloid reporter who is determined to become an editor, but her latest assignment fills her with nothing but dread. She’s been commanded to get a hard-hitting (and preferably scandalous) interview with Joseph Kowalski, a reclusive bestselling author who also happens to be Keri’s high school sweetheart — a fact her editor wants her to exploit when she approaches him. To Keri’s surprise, Joe agrees to be interviewed, but he has conditions: Keri must accompany him on his family’s annual two-week camping trip in rural New Hampshire. For every day Keri can stick it out, Joe will answer one question. With no other choice, Keri agrees to the scheme, but her high-powered life in the city doesn’t translate well to living in a cabin, dousing herself with bug repellent, or riding an ATV through the mud. But the more time Keri spends with Joe’s big, loud, loving family — and with Joe himself — the more she enjoys herself. Can she and Joe rekindle their romance without encountering the same obstacles that originally tore them apart?
I’d heard good things about Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski series, so I decided to pick up this first installment. Overall, I liked but didn’t love it. My favorite part of the book by far was Joe’s rambunctious family, from his mother with her deadly wooden spoon to his noisy, irrepressible nephews. While the Kowalskis certainly have their share of dysfunction, ultimately it’s obvious that they love and care about each other. That said, I wasn’t particularly invested in the romance between Joe and Keri. I didn’t really buy their reasons for breaking up after high school, nor did I understand what was keeping them apart in the present. Keri wanted to focus on her career, but she certainly doesn’t seem to have a lot of pride in her current job as a tabloid reporter. And Joe didn’t want to follow Keri to the big city because he loved his family, but surely a bestsellng author could afford frequent trips back home to see them. So basically, I thought they were both acting stupidly, and I found myself dismissing their supposed obstacles. All in all, I’m not sold on this series, but I may pick up the next book sometime.