Brew: A Love Story - Tracy Ewens
My Review - 4 Stars
I was not familiar with Tracey Ewens’s A Love Story series before this but based on how Brew swept me away, I’m going to need to acquaint myself with them stat.
(Side note: after I wrote this review, I realized Exposure, book 8 in this series, is in my January TBR stack. I selected the books before I left town the other week and before I read Brew and hadn't paid attention to the author. I'd received Exposure in an Ever After Box a year ago. This makes me even more excited to read it!)
This was a heartwarming story. Ella and Boyd have both suffered blows in their past which make them wary of connecting with others. Single father Boyd figures he’ll be content enough with his 13 year old son Mason, his family, and their brewery. Ella throws herself into work, even when she trades being Head of Trauma in San Francisco for settling in Petaluma as an ER doctor.
Despite wanting to lick her wounds, Ella is befriended by Bri and Vienna and the rest upon arriving in town but she still holds back. She keeps her secrets to herself and there’s a lot in her life that simply isn’t up for discussion. That is, until Mason shows up to ask his dad for advice while Ella removes Boyd’s stitches.
This is how the story grows. As Ella connects with Mason, she begins to connect with Boyd and in the process, she becomes more connected to her own life and community. She becomes more empowered in every area of her life and this was incredible to see.
Boyd will admit he’s attracted to Ella but he’s not interested in a relationship. He doesn’t believe he can be both a good dad and a good boyfriend. Mason’s mom walked out of his life when Mason was a baby and he hasn’t had a relationship since and figures he can put one off for longer. But life has a funny way about it when it comes to our plans…and when it comes to the interference of teenage boys. Everyone in Ella and Boyd’s life thinks they could be a good pair but Mason is the only one that tries to lend a helping hand.
This is a love story, it’s true. But it’s not just the story of Ella and Boyd falling for one another. It’s a love story between them and their respective communities. It’s about the ways friends can be like family and family can go above and beyond in helping us and just how much we need one another. It’s about recognizing our worth and moving toward healthy people and cutting out the ones that are toxic.
Boyd and Ella have different wounds in their pasts. They have different work to do as a result. And it doesn’t always line up perfectly. Mistakes are made. Lines are drawn. But there is such good between these two and I was rooting for them the whole time. I loved seeing them take risks for one another and I loved the way they took care of one another and how they made it up to one another when they screwed up.
It felt just like a real relationship. I also really loved that Ella is 36 and Boyd is 37. (I also loved that Boyd was this big, burly man, pretty much my dream man!) I’m all in favor of love stories between people in their mid to late 30s! Please let there be more.
The way brewing figured into the story was both thoughtful and insightful. Not only because it’s Boyd’s passion and the business he shares with his brothers but because of the way the metaphor of brewing added to the story itself.
This book plain made me happy. There were times I ached for the characters but by and large, this was a fun, heartwarming read and I can’t wait to catch up on the 8 books that came before it. Clearly this can be read as a standalone and I’m glad for it.
If only life came with instructions.
Boyd McNaughton is working on balance. He is a father, a brewmaster, and the oldest brother of four. When he’s not running Foghorn Brewery with two of his brothers, his days are packed with carpools, teenage angst, and well-intentioned school moms determined to send him on the perfect blind date. After a simple argument ends with a visit to the emergency room, Boyd discovers the one thing he’s been neglecting—his life.
Ella Walters is working on connection. Having grown up in a less-than-affectionate family of overachievers, she moved to Petaluma for a slower pace and to escape her past. She has friends now instead of accolades, chooses chocolate croissants over super foods, and cherishes the peace that’s replaced the drama. Sure, she occasionally misses the buzz of the San Francisco General Hospital ER, but Ella is learning that navigating a fuller life can be just as exciting.
When Boyd’s son, Mason, seeks out Dr. Ella for “advice” and Boyd stumbles all over her newly healed heart, she finds herself longing for something she never knew existed. But families are messy, and they’ll both need to let go of the past if they want to find a future that’s more than by the book.
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Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links included in this post.