cover image The Backup Plan

The Backup Plan

Jill Shalvis. Avon, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-309547-2

Bestseller Shalvis shines in her endearing third Sunrise Cove series (after The Friendship Pact). Alice Moore; her brother, Will; her best friend (and Will’s girlfriend), Lauren Scott; and Alice’s crush, Knox Rawlings, grew up together in Sunrise Cove, Calif., looked after by feisty local matriarch and “pseudo-grandmother” Eleanor Graham. Four years before the book starts, Will died, as did Knox’s alcoholic mother, and Alice and Knox separately fled town. Lauren, the only one who stays behind, is also the only blood relative to Eleanor, but they were long estranged due to the lies of Lauren’s selfish father. All three 20-something former friends are surprised when Eleanor dies and leaves the trio co-ownership of the Wild West Last Chance Inn in Sunrise Cove, with the stipulation that all must come to the inn for the necessary renovations or forfeit their share. As restoring the inn helps to heal old wounds, the friends slowly find their way back to each other—and true love blossoms between both Alice and Knox and Lauren and local widower Ben, whose five-year-old daughter is a scene-stealer. Readers will easily fall for Shalvis’s well-shaded characters and heart-filled plot. This is the literary equivalent of comfort food. Agent: Annelise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Jan.)