by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor #11
Published by Hachette Audio on September 30, 2014
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For Olivia Bentley, Lucky Harbor is more than the town where she runs her new vintage shop. It's the place where folks are friendly to strangers—and nobody knows her real name. Olivia does a good job of keeping her past buried, not getting too cozy with anyone... until she sees a man drowning. Suddenly she's rushing into the surf, getting up close and personal with the hottest guy she's ever laid hands on.
Charter boat captain Cole Donovan has no problem with a gorgeous woman throwing her arms around his neck in an effort to "save" him. In fact, he'd like to spend a lot more time skin-to-skin with Olivia. He's just not expecting that real trouble is about to come her way. Will it bring her deeper into Cole's heart, or will it be the end of Olivia's days in little Lucky Harbor?
He’s So Fine is book #11 in Jill Shalvis’s Lucky Harbor series. This book started out strong, but the plot fell a bit flat for me toward the end. It’s not one of my favorites in the series.
Olivia moved to the small town of Lucky Harbor to escape her past, which revolves around a big secret that was eluded to in the preceding book. Olivia is an unconventional Lucky Harbor heroine because she’s a former child star along the lines of Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus. She was the star on a successful children’s show, but the show was cancelled when Olivia (then known by a different name) could no longer convincingly play a precocious child.
Washed up by Hollywood standards, and having been raised by a greedy mom/manager who didn’t have Olivia’s best interests at heart, Olivia found herself stereotypically going off the rails as many former child stars do. So she made the decision to get a fresh start in Lucky Harbor, where her on-set tutor used to live and who always spoke of the town fondly. Olivia now runs the vintage shop and is settling in to her new, anonymous life.
Cole is a charter boat captain and all-around Mr. Fix It. When the story opens, he’s repairing something on a boat when Olivia sees him fall into the water. Mistakenly thinking that he’s drowning, Olivia jumps into the water to save Cole. As it turns out, he wasn’t drowning, but the incident allows Olivia and Cole to get to know each other better.
The attraction between Olivia and Cole is clearly mutual, but they each have issues that they’re trying to work through. Of course, Olivia has the big secret about her real identity and past, which no one in Lucky Harbor knows about. She feels guilty that she’s lying to everyone, but she’s doing it for the sake of her privacy and a sense of self-preservation. Cole is dealing with grief over the death of his best friend Gil, who worked with Cole and his buddies and who died tragically in an oil rig fire. In addition, Cole’s last relationship ended badly when he discovered that his girlfriend Susan and Gil were secretly in love with each other. Needless to say, Cole is big on honesty and values it above all else. He has closed himself off emotionally following Gil’s death and Susan’s betrayal. When Cole meets Olivia, he starts to let his guard down.
I knew from the start that things were eventually going to come to a head between Olivia and Cole. She’s concealing this big secret and he’s a huge stickler for honesty. I had a feeling that there would be a big blow-up of some kind, and sure enough, that’s what happens. Because of this, I had trouble warming up to Olivia. I understood how she desperately needed to protect her privacy because of her past, but once she and Cole started seeing each other, I thought she should have trusted him enough to come clean about her true identity. What exactly was she afraid of? Did she think that Cole was going to blab her secret to town gossip Lucille, or something? Of course not. That’s not the kind of guy he is. I just thought that Olivia should have owned up to her secrets and confided in him way sooner.
I also had some issues liking Cole as much as I wanted to. He’s still pretty hung up on his ex-girlfriend Susan, even to the point of going to visit her in the end for some type of closure. I thought that was unnecessary. Yes, it was tragic how Gil died, but why would Cole need to go see Susan in another town prior to officially declaring his feelings for Olivia? This whole portion of the book felt out of step for me because it took focus off of Cole and Olivia’s relationship and spent too much time reflecting on the past.
Lastly, the ending felt abrupt because there were some important loose ends that I thought needed to be tied up. View Spoiler »Are the paparazzi going to flock to Lucky Harbor, now that the world knows about Olivia’s new identity and where she’s living? What happens with Olivia’s strained relationship with her mom and sister? « Hide Spoiler
Having said all this, I still didn’t hate the book–it just isn’t one of my favorites from the series. I enjoyed the moments between Olivia and her friends, as well as the interactions between Cole and his friends. As always, town crier Lucille made me laugh and I’m really excited that the next (and final) book in the series is about Lucille’s granddaughter, Callie. I love the Lucky Harbor series as a whole and I’ll be sad when I finish it.
Rating: 3 stars