Happily married to her college sweetheart, Poppy lived a blessed life with the husband of her dreams. Then everything changed. She is no longer a wife. She is no longer the envy of her single friends. Now, people look at her with pity as they whisper a single word behind her back.
Years after her husband’s tragic death, years of pain and sorrow and wishing for the life she’ll never get back, Poppy decides to finish Jamie’s birthday list. She’ll do the things he wanted to most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can complete his list, she can start to live again.
Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who delivered the news of her husband’s death and shattered her heart be the one to help her put it back together again?
Turning to the door, I smiled, ready to greet my late-evening customer, but faltered as the door closed behind him.
Cole Goodman was walking my way.
My belly dipped as I took him in. His aviator sunglasses were perched on top of his chocolate-brown hair. A black polo stretched across his broad shoulders and pulled tight across his muscled arms. His pale-blue jeans molded to his Herculean thighs before draping down to his black, square-toed boots. The leather belt on Cole’s trim waist held both a shining badge and a holstered gun.
Cole smiled and locked his light-green eyes on mine as he crossed the room.
His straight, white teeth made my breath hitch—something that had happened last night more times than I wanted to admit.
Molly, who had turned around from her seat to greet our customer, spun around so her back was to Cole. Her cheeks flushed as she whispered, “Wow.”
Wow was right.
Cole Goodman was—simply put—gorgeous.
He could give a woman a speeding ticket and get a thank-you in return. He inspired women to attempt push-ups in a karate class just for the chance to watch him sweat through his gi. Cole made grown women blush like teenagers and giggle in corners, like those girls at the dojo last night.
★ ★ ★ ★
Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse
I’m so pleased a book buddy of mine called my attention to this full-length standalone, and being a first-timer to Perry’s works made me even more excited. Not only did it quickly become apparent that The Birthday List was my kind of read, but also what I needed to get myself out of the book slump I’d been in for a while. Ooh my, the prologue! My heart twisted and devastated, I read on. I found myself getting lost in the author’s words, her characters, and the really well-thought-out storyline so easily, I couldn’t put it down. Put two and two together and you’ll probably come up with the right answer regarding the title and the cover, is isn’t it simply stunning? Depicting the female protagonist’s name, Poppy, it’s certainly a refreshing change from what we’ve been seeing of late.
As long or short as it may be, most of us have made a mental list of things we’d like to do if we can. Someone very dear to Poppy had one, they laughed and joked about it and in the split of a second, everything changed. But here is the thing. What I really and truly liked was the structure of each chapter. Some are told from Poppy’s point of view, others by Cole. But what stands out in each and every one of them has a wish from the list.
“Please think about stopping this list thing. I hate that it makes you cry.”
“I have to,” “I have to do this. Even if it takes me years.”
You can’t get more original than a restaurant where the food’s not served on a plate, now can you? I’ll keep you guessing about how Poppy presented her mouthwatering recipes! Actually, I was hoping for a couple of them to appear in the story but more important, the life-changing decision she’d make would help her become mentally and emotionally stronger. Making new memories meant she’d do some crazy things and what a joy it was reading all about them.
‘I didn’t have a list of things I wanted to do in my life. I had a wall of memories of the things I’d already done.’
How Cole Goodman met Poppy was tragic. Now he’s back in her life and I could see the wheels turning in their heads. I felt as if I’d grabbed the best seat in the cinema and didn’t even need popcorn to relish watching their friendship grow. Yes guys, it’s slow burn romance not difficult to comprehend under the circumstances. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must have been for Poppy to fight her attraction towards Cole. Letting go of an all-consuming guilt, trying to cope with everyday life wasn’t easy, but she knew she had to move on.
‘Guilt. Guilt was a heavy beast. It settled like a dead weight in my chest.’
Cole adores her. Down to earth, he’s the perfect guy to guide Poppy back into the land of the living. His pursuit of her was by no means overbearing and brought a smile to my face. There’s one scenario that had me grinning from ear to ear and although Cole didn’t find it as amusing as I did, him telling her off and then trying to make things right showed me he was there for her. Him taking control when he thought necessary was done with sensitivity and yes guys, it definitely looks like his gorgeousness is swooning material, doesn’t it? Family and friends play a huge part in their story which I really appreciated. And then there’s a couple of characters who will have you laughing out loud. Moments of angst, there are; however, quite low-key. When emotionally-charged issues arise, they are dealt with sensibly, with trust and respect.
“The rest of your life is still unwritten.”
One thing I’d like to mention are the inner-thoughts. Obviously, there’s less banter; nonetheless, when the dialogue does start flowing, it’s really good, more often than not light-hearted, yet many times you’ll be drying your eyes. Fortunately, I went in blind and highly recommend doing the same. After finishing the book, I read the synopsis and have to say it did feel as if a little too much had been given away. Despite this detail, The Birthday List is without a doubt for lovers of heartwarming romances who enjoy all the feels. Ooh, Molly and Finn’s story. Now that would be a real treat! Bravo Perry!
Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media.