Over the past few days I’ve been reading Willing by Leslie Noyes. I really liked this book for so many different reasons and it actually surprised me about a 1/3 of the way in how much I was starting to like the book. Read on to find out why!
This novel came out in the spring, but if you’ve been following me for a while then you know I’m always behind on my ever growing tbr list.
Willing follows Liz Silver, a photographer in her 40s, who lives in Vermont. Although she is a successful wedding photographer, she herself has given up on love. After a divorce and broken heart from a broken engagement, Liz has formed “The Rules”. Rules she lives by so that she can have some fun with men, but never get attached enough to fall in love. For example, the man must have some fatal flaw so a real relationship would be out of the question.
The first third of the book follows Liz as she navigates two relationships that were never going to work out for various reasons. It’s actually the first affair she has in the book that had me wondering if I was going to like this book. I thought to myself, “Uh where is this going?” I won’t spoil it for you, but if you have the same thought as me when you first read the book, just keep reading because I promise it all makes sense and gets better.
So what happens a third of the way into the book? Liz decides she just cannot go through another harsh Vermont winter. At the encouragement of guy #2 in the book, she heads to coastal Georgia for the winter months to house sit on the property of an acquaintance of his. She hopes that while there she’ll enjoy the warmth and also find some creative inspiration. She’s always wanted to be a landscape photographer rather than a wedding photographer. So she goes to coastal Georgia where she meets Kit. Kit is slightly older than Liz and is handsome lawyer. He lives in the other house on the estate while Liz house sits his brother’s house. Kit has also experienced heartbreak in his past and similar to Liz has spent the last few years avoiding love. It’s not long before the two realize their attraction to each other comes with feelings, but could it be more than either of them is willing to allow?
I loved the journey Liz goes on in this novel and her arc was a joy to read even when there were some gut wrenching, tear jerker moments. If you didn’t know, I not so secretly love when books or moves make my heart ache – as long as the ending is happy! I loved Liz and Kit together and seeing where their journey would take them. Their relationship just seemed very realistic and not full of cliches or unrealistic problems. Everything seemed very real and like things or certain feelings you could encounter in any relationship no matter your age or circumstance.
Willing is a contemporary romance novel so there is a good amount of descriptive and detailed sex scenes, which I don’t mind as I love romance novels, but if that’s not your thing just be aware! I liked that Liz was so confident in her sensuality and sexuality and owned it. I’ve been on this big thing lately with women owning and embracing their sexuality and not letting society dictate what is right/wrong and how women “should be” so this really fit into my current mindset!
I hope Noyes continues to write, because I’d love to read another novel by her.
I’ll leave you with a quote towards the end of the novel that really stood to me.
“…I have come to believe there is some choice involved in whether one heals or not. Past the worst grief, a time exists when we must decide whether to live looking only over our shoulders or to face forward and try new paths.”
*I was sent this novel complimentary, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.*