Friday, June 10, 2016

Review - - Best of My Love

Best of My Love
By Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: April 26, 2016

Aidan Mitchell finds that all the lovely female tourists who visit Fool’s Gold, California, provide him with ample opportunities to practice his here tonight-gone tomorrow philosophy concerning romantic relationships. Aidan is not a bad guy. He never intended to hurt anyone, but when one of his for-the-moment hookups returns to Fool’s Gold believing Aidan is her soul mate, only to be devastated when he remembers the week they spent together only vaguely and her name not at all, Aidan realizes that he has unwittingly become a player. Clearly, it is time for a change. Aidan’s solution is to give celibacy a try and avoid women for the near future.

Shelby Gilmore has a better idea. Despite a close relationship with her brother, Kipling Gilmore (Hold Me), her history with an abusive father has given her a distrust of men that she is finding difficult to overcome. She hopes that a strictly platonic friendship with a man may help her overcome this distrust. She also thinks that a friendship with a female may help Aidan see a woman as a person rather than a sex partner and thus help him achieve his goal of becoming a better man.

Aidan, somewhat reluctantly, accepts Shelby’s proposal, and the two begin a planned six-month run as friends. Their time together includes guy events such as sports and girl events such as margaritas with conversation about feelings. The friendship experiment is off to a great start since Aidan and Shelby quickly learn to genuinely like each other and appreciate the ways their relationship broadens their world. But this is a romance, and predictably the platonic pledge gets tougher to keep as their attraction to each other becomes more and more heated. Can these friends become lovers without destroying the friendship they both value? Can they learn to trust that a forever commitment can be more than a danger or a trap?

Friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and I thought Best of My Love was an original take on it. I loved Aidan and Shelby and their story. Fans of the series will already be familiar with elements of the backstories of these characters, but Mallery provides sufficient details for even new readers to view Aidan and Shelby sympathetically and understand their conflicts. Watching first the friendship and then the romance develop was a delight. And, of course, appearances by other Fool’s Gold favorites, including the town’s cryptic mayor adds to the fun.

Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series is in its seventh year, and Best of My Love is the twentieth book in the series. I’ve been on board from the beginning and count the series among my favorites, but of course, I have liked some books better than others. I rank this one among the best. It has moments that are funny, moments that are poignant, moments that are sweet, and moments that are sexy. I love books that hit all the right notes!

I have no hesitation in recommending this book highly to readers who know Fool’s Gold, but I will admit that I wondered a few times if a reader new to the series and unfamiliar with the place and its inhabitants, who number close to fifty now just counting leads, might sometimes lose their way. As much as I love the book, it may not be the best place for a first time visit to Fool’s Gold.

By the way, if anyone knows if Mallery is planning more Fool’s Gold books, I’d love to know. I haven’t been able to find any mentioned in all the usual places.



  1. I heard that Best of My Love is the last and saw that she confirmed it online recently. I enjoyed it too, and I have read most of the series.


    1. She's starting a new series.

      This is what it says on her website: I know readers will be very excited about my May release—Best of My Love takes us back to Fool's Gold! (Perhaps for the final time??? I would never say "never again"—I love Fool's Gold too much for that—but I don't have any Fool's Gold books planned for 2017. I'll tell you more about what I'm working on in a moment.)

  2. I'm part of her Review Crew and according to the letter we got with this book, it is the last Fool's Gold book. She is starting a brand new series with her next one. I will miss Fool's Gold!

  3. I love this whole series. I agree there are some that I thought were better. I don't know how she comes up with some of the characters. Kiss Me in June and Thrill Me in July if I remember correctly.

  4. Thanks to all who answered my question. Because I got my wires crossed on sending this review to PJ, it is running quite some time after I wrote it. I have seen references to the "last of Fool's Gold" since. I'll miss my visits there too.

  5. I love Susan and this series. Can't wait to read this book

  6. Read this one - enjoy this series very much. I'm wondering if Susan is going to tell the stories of Aiden's other three brothers in the town they moved to

    1. That would be interesting, Di. There seems to be a trend for spinoffs like that. Robyn Carr did it with Thunder Point and Virgin River, and RaeAnne Thayne's Haven Point is linked to Hope's Crossing in the first book. Sarah Morgan's heroines in her new Manhattan-set series are all from Puffin Island, and Emily March, who started her Eternity Springs series with a Callahan link is about to link the two series again. Hmm. Food for thought.