Friday, March 20, 2015

"Three Little Words" by Melissa Tagg - a strong, well-developed novella


Three Little Words
Back in college, Ava Kingsley and Seth Walker were, if not exactly enemies, for sure polar opposites as they fought each other tooth and nail in the campus newspaper. Ten years later, when they meet again, they still squabble as much as ever, but somehow they become friends and spend a year emailing each other daily. When Ava's plans fall through in the job market, she takes Seth up on his offer of a vacation in small-town Iowa where he runs a restaurant. Will their friendship change when they spend time together in person?

Not only is the novella an excellent transition piece to warm one up to the new cast of characters, but it is a solid, well-written story in its own right.

"Three Little Words" makes for a clever tie-in for the author's books, connecting characters from her past novels with her upcoming series on the Walker family. Autumn Kinglsey (Here to Stay) and Blake Hunziker (Built to Last, Here to Stay) make a cameo appearance as Ava's sister and her boyfriend. The tone is set for the Walkers, establishing them as a warm, welcoming family who have been touched by sorrow.

What particularly impressed me about this novella is the feeling of a deep, well-established relationship - a romance that makes sense and doesn't feel rushed. The kind of romance one generally only finds in a full-length novel. Novellas are maybe a third the length of a full-length novel, so it makes sense that they tend to be rushed, especially since you want to fit in a bit of character development and conflict along with the romance. But by establishing a year's worth of daily correspondence in a single sentence, the author builds a solid foundation for not just the romance, but the whole plot.

Because novellas have such little time to establish a strong story, I rarely rate them as anything but three or four stars, but this time I must make an exception! (Oh, and incidentally, this novella is free - look it up!)

Walker Family
0.5. "Three Little Words"
1. From the Start
2. Like Never Before
3. Keep Holding On

Related series:
Enchanted Christmas Collection
1. One Enchanted Christmas
2. One Enchanted Eve

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