Jill has run away from the small town of Adams Grove and into the arms of wealthy Brad in Savannah in order to escape a heart broken by the betrayal of her childhood sweetheart, Garrett. The novel opens with her return to town for Grandma Pearl’s birthday party. Through this party Naigle introduces us to the key players in the novel and to Jill’s backstory. Jill’s parents died on a research trip when she was young and Grandma Pearl, with help from friends in Adams Grove, raised her. Pearl introduced Jill to her current beau, Brad, but now questions that introduction and encourages Jill to give Garrett another chance. We see why Pearl questions Jill’s choice of Brad when Jill returns to Savannah for a fundraiser dinner benefitting Brad’s foundation, for which Jill does public relations and fundraising organization. Brad is highly focused on material wealth and image, which seems counter to Jill’s small-town values. His scewed priorities become clear when he fails to tell Jill that Pearl has passed away as they prepared for the big benefit event. Furious, Jill retreats to Adams Grove to gain some space and attend the funeral, and ends up staying to deal with Pearl’s strange bequest, which pushes she and Garrett together, very intentionally. Add in a physical threat (someone keeps breaking into Pearl’s house and seeking to intimidate Jill for an unknown reason), the discovery of Pearl’s late, mysterious, pearl-seeking husband, and the plot is moving.
Naigle’s characters are well-drawn and inviting. The plot flows naturally and pulled me from page to page. As the title implies, Naigle has written other novels set in Adams Grove. I enjoyed this one, a quick summer read, so much that I may check into Adams Grove again.