Sunday Shorts—Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole

coverOhmigosh I really enjoyed this. First, I want to talk format. This Sunday Shorts series lets me take a moment to focus on shorter fictions, be it short stories, novelettes, short plays, or novellas, and this book was a perfect reminder why I wanted to take time every week to focus on those formats.

I honestly think the novella is often the most perfect way to tell a romance story. And Cole has this down cold here. The focus is kept on the specific characters involved, and every side character feels all the more important for being included, the conflict (and resolution) arc become more… I want to say “natural,” but what I mean is there’s less opportunity for “Perils of Pauline” effects to slip in, where the couple get close, break apart, get close, break apart over and over in a way that feels like filler. In a novella, there’s generally one “issue” and that issue feels all the more realistic when the couple work through it without dozens of other things popping up as well. I enjoy that, and I enjoy the journey, and Cole does it so very damn well.

In Once Ghosted, Twice Shy? The ladies in question are flipping awesome. Likotsi’s confidence was really engaging, and Fabiola’s described style (and incredibly genuine emotional reactions to some seriously impactful life events) hummed on the page, and I wanted them to be together even when I understood 100% why they’d gone in the direction they had the last time they’d had the chance.

I also loved their discussions of how hard things would be to make it work, given their very, very different lives. (And the sizzle. Egad, the sizzle.)

I listened to this one as an audiobook, too, and full props to the narrator, Karen Chilton. Superb job.

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