I’ve had All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata on my tbr since last year. I’d heard great things about it and after reading 2 other books by her, The Wall of Winnipeg & Me and Kulti and absolutely loving them, I had high hopes for All Rhodes Lead Here. I am thrilled to share that it did not disappoint and I loved it so much.
The novel follows Aurora De La Torre as she goes back to Pagosa Springs, Colorado – a small town she lived in as a kid with her mother until she was 13. A year ago her 14-year relationship ended abruptly and she has spent the past year driving across the country, sightseeing, and doing some soul searching. Now she’s in Pagosa and hoping that this place she was once so happy could potentially be her new home. But things are off to a rocky start when she learns that the garage apartment she rented was actually rented to her by a 15 year old kid who went behind his dad’s back to make some money to buy a guitar. Aurora convinces her new landlord, Tobias Rhodes, to let her stay and promises that he won’t even know she’s there. She tries to stay out of the quiet, grumpy, and hot game warden’s way so she doesn’t irritate him and get the boot.
However, Aurora’s bubbly, upbeat personality can’t even keep the grumpiest of men grumpy for long. Her sunshine personality is magnetizing and slowly Rhodes finds himself helping Aurora out with one thing or another, eventually leading to a real friendship and feelings. Aurora settles into town, getting a job at her old childhood friend’s outdoors/sporting goods store and spends her days off hiking on trails her mother took. Aurora is not only trying to find herself again, but also reconnect with her mom by looking at her mom’s old hiking journals and trying to do all the same trails.
This book was so beautiful. Seeing Aurora come into her own after a bad relationship, revisiting her memories of her mom, finding herself, and falling in love with someone who truly sees her and loves her for her. Her relationship with Rhodes was a slow burn (as I’ve said before, Mariana Zapata is the queen of the slow burn), but it’s so beautifully done and so satisfying once they get together. Rhodes was the perfect grumpy, protective, good, and hot mmc. Aurora’s relationship with his teenage son, Amos, is also so amazing to watch.
Mariana Zapata is one of a handful of authors who can write 500+ page books and I’m like “This was over too soon”. I also love how she always either incorporates previous books of hers in her story or mentions characters from her other books. I’ve picked up on a few in the past, but need to read more of her backlist to catch more references!
I loved this story so much. I laughed, I cried. It was truly perfection.
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