Whoever said romance is dead? Lena is lost and not sure what she wants out of life but she does want to fall in love. Grace tried and failed but she still believes in romance so hard that she leaves anonymous little notes in a grotto to an imaginary man she hopes will not turn out to be a serial killer. Lucky for her, the one answering her letters is sweet and shy Lena.
Lena is lovely. She’s the kind of person who, after throwing a pillow on the floor, feels bad for the pillow. She’s awkward and adorable. Lena’s superpower is self-deprecation, which makes for a very funny inner commentary, especially as she realises how gay she really is, but it also stops her from seeing how strong she actually is. Grace, on the other hand, is known for her bad temper, which is really just her way to protect herself. Underneath her grumpy facade, she’s kind and loyal and very smart.
The main characters feel very young at times (which they are, to some extent) even though they’ve both already been through a lot. I kind of like that, despite having survived difficult situations, they still have a sort of innocence. That feeling also stems from the fact parents in this book, as represented by Grace’s mother, act like it’s the 19th century and they own their children.
There are two other important characters, Grace’s brother Will who, like Grace, is a lot more interesting than first impressions lead to believe, and Percy, Lena’s best friend’s brother. Everyone needs a friend like Percy. It doesn’t hurt that he’s an awesome trans guy character.
The Safest Place is the second Ember Grove romance. I didn’t read the first one and while this one can be enjoyed as a standalone, I did feel I was missing some background at first. It probably didn’t matter much to the story but it apparently explains some of Lena’s actions.
Lily Seabrooke writes very sweet stories but just because they’re sweet doesn’t mean they’re light. The Safest Place is the meeting of two lonelinesses, and it could have been sad but instead, it’s heartwarming. If you’re feeling down, pick up one of Seabrooke’s books. Also, I’m definitely here for gay wontons and forgiving chocolate.