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Book Scene: A romantic comedy to warm your heart for Valentine's Day

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happy singles day

How do you feel about holiday reads? How about small town/seaside novels? “Happy Singles Day” reminds me of the easy-to-read novels that come out every Christmas, and of small town and seaside novels that come out every summer.

Paige, a Certified Professional Organizer in Chicago, has everything in her life in order. After a very bad experience with her ex and her old boss, she started her own company and is very successful. But she is in desperate need of a holiday. The perfect opportunity appears after she clicks on an ad for “Singles Day,” the day after Valentine’s Day. What better time to go away? Because who needs a man? Certainly not Paige.

Once Paige arrives at the small seaside town in the middle of nowhere, she soon realizes things are not as they appeared on the website. For starters, there are no cars in town. She needs to get on a bike to get to the bed-and-breakfast. Once she does get there, it looks like someone’s house, with stuff all over and definitely not set up for the peaceful holiday week she was looking for. On top of that, the guy at the door is rude and unwelcoming.

She turns back on her heel, and because she is lucky like that, a storm comes in. She has no choice but to return to the B&B and beg for her room back.

What Paige doesn’t know is that the ad was set up by the sister of Lucas, the moody guy at the door. Ever since his wife died and left him a single dad, he has been struggling to keep the house afloat and has not taken any guests. When Paige arrived, he had just found out about his sister’s doing; although he is not happy about it, his sister is right. He has bills and taxes to pay, and needs to start using the B&B again. Though a little more warning from his sister would have been nice, so he could get the place cleaned up (since it is his house with his little daughter as well as a B&B). A rude “city slicker” lady as a first guest back in operation does not help.

As their worlds collide and they are forced to spend time together, Lucas finds Paige is not as obnoxious as he first thought. She is bossy and a little OCD, but she is also kind and sweet. And Paige finds Lucas is not that rude. Maybe at first, but mostly he is a man in pain with a little too much on his plate.

A storm, an animal rescue and a seashell expedition with Lucas’ little girl later, and the chemistry between them becomes undeniable. But can two people from very different worlds be anything more than just friends?

• “Happy Singles Day” by Ann Marie Walker was published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on Jan. 19. It retails for $14.99.

• Anne Zastrow works for Inklings Bookshop. She and other Inklings staffers review books in SCENE every week.

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