Happily married to her college sweetheart, Poppy lived a blessed life with the husband of her dreams. Then everything changed. She is no longer a wife. She is no longer the envy of her single friends. Now, people look at her with pity as they whisper a single word behind her back.
Years after her husband’s tragic death, years of pain and sorrow and wishing for the life she’ll never get back, Poppy decides to finish Jamie’s birthday list. She’ll do the things he wanted to most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can complete his list, she can start to live again.
Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who delivered the news of her husband’s death and shattered her heart be the one to help her put it back together again?
‘Minute by minute…’
That’s how Poppy Maysen has lived every day for the last five years since the night she lost her husband, and as life around her continues to move forward, she’s doing her best to ‘crawl out from underneath the weight of Jamie’s death,’ working through the list of things Jamie wanted to do/accomplish before certain birthdays, which gives Poppy a purpose and hopefully will help her live for herself once the list is complete.
‘In a heartbeat…’
That’s how Cole Goodman willingly responds to anything Poppy asks of him, not because he feels sorry for her, but because she’s a witty, beautiful, and compassionate woman who he can’t help but be attracted to and want to spend time with, even though he knows she’s still grieving over her husband’s death and anything happening between them would take time and patience on his part, and it’s more than obvious that Cole’s committed to standing by Poppy’s side as her friend, as her list partner, and as anything else she wants or needs him to be.
‘Let the happy outweigh the sad…’
That’s what Poppy is struggling to do as her attraction to Cole becomes a palpable thing, and while she’s both terrified and guilty over her growing feelings for Cole, she’s learning to open up her heart again, and Cole’s the perfect guy to help her because he handles her guilt, her grief, her pain, and her tears with absolute care, proving that Poppy’s found the one to help her move forward…minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.
Poppy and Cole’s story is an emotional journey of loss, healing, and finding the strength to move forward despite the guilt that comes with it. Denvey Perry takes great care in illustrating Poppy’s struggles and heartbreak as well as the conflicted feelings she has over what Cole begins to mean to her. Perry doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to her characters’ maelstrom of emotions; Poppy is not the only one suffering over Jamie’s death, and Perry is as honest and real as she can be with all characters’ reactions because not everyone can move forward after a loss of that magnitude.
Cole Goodman is a hero who some readers might think is too good to be true, but because Devney Perry provides us with Cole’s perspective as well as his internal thoughts, it’s clear that he’s everything he seems to be and more. He’s an amazing detective, a wonderful son, a compassionate man, and one hell of a sexy alpha male. There definitely needs to be more Cole Goodmans in the world.
I absolutely wish there was a small cafe like The Maysen Jar in my hometown; not only does the food sound amazing but the way the restaurant is described makes it seem like the perfect quaint little meeting spot, and it’s clear that the residents of Bozeman, Montana, know a good thing when they see it.
There are so many things that make The Birthday List a must-read romance. Its unique story line, witty banter, endearing supporting characters, and crazy birthday list antics will keep readers highly entertained and deeply invested in Poppy and Cole’s slow and steady road to happiness.
4.5 Poison Apples
Turning to the door, I smiled, ready to greet my late-evening customer, but faltered as the door closed behind him.
Cole Goodman was walking my way.
My belly dipped as I took him in. His aviator sunglasses were perched on top of his chocolate-brown hair. A black polo stretched across his broad shoulders and pulled tight across his muscled arms. His pale-blue jeans molded to his Herculean thighs before draping down to his black, square-toed boots. The leather belt on Cole’s trim waist held both a shining badge and a holstered gun.
Cole smiled and locked his light-green eyes on mine as he crossed the room.
His straight, white teeth made my breath hitch—something that had happened last night more times than I wanted to admit.
Molly, who had turned around from her seat to greet our customer, spun around so her back was to Cole. Her cheeks flushed as she whispered, “Wow.”
Wow was right.
Cole Goodman was—simply put—gorgeous.
He could give a woman a speeding ticket and get a thank-you in return. He inspired women to attempt push-ups in a karate class just for the chance to watch him sweat through his gi. Cole made grown women blush like teenagers and giggle in corners, like those girls at the dojo last night.
Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media.