New Hope, PA is a special town with a strong LGBTQ+ community. It is the perfect place for Prescott to open his antique store and for Danny to open his vintage toy store.

Unbeknownst to them, their mutual friend has purposefully rented the same store to these two men, intending for each to have half of the space.

Naturally, this simply will not do: Prescott thinks Danny is a slob and Danny thinks Prescott is a snob. Both men believe that sharing the store will be disastrous for their respective businesses, but they have no choice. They’re going to have to work together if they want to succeed.

While this odd couple/opposites attract trope would have been enough, Stover has added another layer to the dynamic. I can’t give specifics because I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll simply say, mumble mumble appearances mumble. I found this to be a rather clever enhancement that not only provided more depth to the protagonists’ personalities, but curiously enough, it also added to the conflict.

This book is a bit of a slow burn. Both men have been hurt in past relationships, so even after they stop bickering and start seeing each other in a new light, they’re reluctant to jump into anything because of their respective pasts.

Speaking of the bickering, it was absolutely hilarious to see Prescott and Danny clash over Chippendale furniture and Smurfs. This helped keep the book relatively light. There are genuine feelings, but very little in the way of angst. That said, the characters could have benefited from listening to each other instead of assuming the worst, but then again, there wouldn’t be much of a plot.

I would recommend The Beautiful Things Shoppe. Even though this is the second book in the series, it functions really well as a standalone. The protagonists from the first book make appearances, but you don’t need to read the first book in order to understand or appreciate this one. I am already looking forward to returning to New Hope in the future.      

I received an ARC of this book from Carina Press/NetGalley

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