by Ivy Fairbanks
Publisher: Lassen Press
Publication Date: July 25, 2023
I received this book for free from BookSprout in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Falling for the wrong person?
Bury your feelings.
Callum Flannelly would rather dive into an open grave than take a stranger to dinner and a movie. But he can only inherit the family undertaking business and carry on their legacy under one condition: He must marry before his 35th birthday. So it’s out of the mortuary and into the dating scene.
Lark Thompson would rather get crushed by a falling anvil than live next to a funeral home during her stay in Galway, Ireland. The vivacious American cartoon creator and animator came here to embrace life, not be reminded of losing her husband.
When Lark learns of Callum’s dilemma and aversion to marrying out of necessity rather than love, she agrees to help the introverted mortician. Although sworn off love herself, she is optimistic that Callum can find The One and secure his inheritance.
But as the dating project progresses and their friendship grows, so does a mutual attraction. The more time she spends with serious, sarcastic Callum, the more she dreads finding him a match. And the more disastrous dates he endures, the more trepidation he feels for Lark’s imminent return to the states.
If they think it’s possible to ignore their connection, they’re dead wrong.
Just like the cover suggests, this is a lighthearted romcom involving a mortician. It’s also ridiculously and unbelievably cute. It’s an opposites-attract, sort of grumpy/sunshine romance that I couldn’t put down!
Shortly before his grandfather died, he added a condition to his will. If Callum wants to inherit the family mortuary business, he’ll have to get married by his 35th birthday. Otherwise it’ll go to his father who’s already shopping around for the best buyer. Basically, he has nine months to find a wife and no prospects in sight. Lark’s arrived in Galway looking for a fresh start. The fact that her new place is directly across from Willow Haven funeral home is… maybe not a good sign? But as she gets to know the shy Callum and learns of his predicament, she sets out to help him find The One. But why do their friendly sightseeing trips and movie nights feel so much more fun than any of the dates either of them are going on?
Lark is outgoing, colorful and ready to enjoy everything that life in Galway has to offer. After all, her contract with the animation studio is only until their current film is finished. And Lark knows just how quickly everything in your life can change. Lark’s pretty much the definition of a “sunshine” character and dresses like one, too – at one point Callum describes her as “an overturned crayon box.” So if you’ve got “sunshine”, then you’ve got to have “grumpy” too, right? Like many of those characters, though, Callum’s more taciturn than grumpy, and before he knows it he’s double-dating with Lark. Callum’s shyness and his stuttering make it hard to get close to any women – not to mention his penchant for discussing embalming practices in the middle of a date. That’s especially rough since he’s demisexual, meaning he has to have a relationship with someone before he feels attracted to them.
Of course, you can guess where this is going. There’s a lot of chemistry between Lark and Callum but both are adamant that a romantic relationship would be a terrible idea. Lark’s contract only lasts until the film is finished so she’s only up for a casual relationship, not anything serious, while Callum doesn’t have time for anything but serious. But as Lark and Callum laugh over his bad dates it becomes more and more clear how well they fit together. Lark’s boundless energy encourages Callum to go out and try new things, while Callum’s empathy and kindness provide a snug place for Lark to rest. And I cannot emphasize this enough, but they are just so incredibly sweet together. While there are some heavier threads in the book, the comfort and acceptance in their relationship gave the characters space to deal with them.
While there is some sightseeing, it never feels like an Irish travelogue – the way the characters react to the places is perfection, like for instance, laying down at the edge of a giant cliff and yelling into the ocean waves. Otherwise, the only other thing I can possibly critique is that it sometimes felt like there were too many threads going on: dealing with her misogynistic coworker, her grief, her relationship with and elderly scooter-riding spitfire… You get the picture.
Overall, a sweet romcom that I highly recommend to, well, anyone who loves romance! Unbelievably enough, this is the author’s debut book so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for what she does next!
Content notes: View Spoiler »