Lucky in Lace opens on a prologue set three years in the past, with Peyton, a week out of prison, struggling to find a job until a lingerie shop owner takes a chance on her. In the present, Peyton, now the owner herself, moves back to her hometown to try and reconnect with her brother. The shop next to hers belongs to Juliette, who sells stationery and custom-made greeting cards. She just found out that her best friends, one of whom is her ex-husband, have a thing for each other and she’s trying to find her place in the new dynamic of the trio. Juliette is as uptight as Peyton is outgoing and it’s their differences that will bring them together.
This is what the book version of a saucy Hallmark movie would be, with the beautiful and sincerely repentant felon charming the pants off the reserved divorcée and changing her life completely. At the same time, despite being a bit rushed at times (straitlaced Juliette almost immediately embraces the idea of making sexy greeting cards for example), the story feels less formulaic than usual. There is no huge breakup happening for some far-fetched reason. The evolution is organic if, as I wrote above, sometimes quick.
While I liked Juliette with Peyton, I never completely got her as a person. She’s described at first as an introvert but it doesn’t last, and not just when she’s with Peyton. It’s like her personality was written to fit Peyton’s storyline rather than her own. Peyton is definitely the most interesting of the two, the most complex. I have no idea how accurate the depiction of life after prison is, but as a reader, I thought it was handled with sensitivity, and the family arc was touching. There are also a few secondary characters I liked, especially Juliette’s stepmother Dolores, even if (not for the first time) I wish the characters’ voices were more distinct.
Some of Melissa Brayden’s books make more of an impact than others but whether they’ll stay with me or be forgotten quickly, I always enjoy them a lot while reading them. This one is no exception. 3.5⭐️
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