Book Review: Tell Me by Abigail Strom

Title: Tell Me
Author: @AbigailStrom
Reviewer: Ivy @PoisonIvy70
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 252 pages
Rating: 4 Stars


Shy bookstore owner Jane Finch grew up hiding in the margins of her own life while her vibrant, adventure-loving sister, Samantha, dominated every plotline. She’s made peace with it, unlike Sam’s business partner, Caleb, who’s always nudging Jane to go after what she really wants. Why should she care what blunt, brash Caleb thinks? They’ve never had much in common, except for Sam.

After tragedy strikes, they don’t even have that.

Caleb can’t quite remember when Sam’s little sister stopped being like a surrogate sibling to him and became just…Jane. She’s the most intriguing woman he’s ever met, and so much sexier and stronger than she thinks. On the emotional journey to honor Sam’s memory, the spark they’ve tried to deny becomes an inferno. This journey was meant to be an ending, but will they discover an unexpected new beginning?

Ivy's review

The Good. You know those romances where the hero and heroine are complete opposites and yet it doesn’t matter because nothing else matters besides the romance?  This, is not that book, and I appreciated that.  I’m glad I took my GR friend Geri’s recommendation to check out this book, so I’d like to pay it forward and I’ll tell you what I loved (and didn’t love) about this tale.

The chemistry between Jane and Caleb is there from the very beginning. I loved their conversations, and the history Ms. Strom conveyed between Jane and Caleb with every interaction.  I adored that their attraction wasn’t a secret to the reader, even if they didn’t see it themselves. There were plenty of moments that felt as if they could have been handled in a Romance 101 kind of way, and Ms. Strom deliberately steered away from those, which I liked alot. This is most definitely a character driven romance, and there’s genuine tension in wondering how Ms. Strom would overcome the differences between Jane and Caleb.  From the start, you know that Jane is a city girl who loves her books, and Caleb is an adventurer who thrives in nature. Neither is prepared to change, and their journey to a believable HEA is fully explored and well earned by the time you get to the last page.

The Bad. I can’t say there was anything that was really bad about this story. The ending felt a bit abrupt, in this age of the extended epilogue, but it’s a sweet grand gesture that it closes on and I liked that.

Everything in Between. There are a couple of things that I was on the fence about. The plot twist wasn’t a surprise (it was hinted at in the blurb, and you feel yourself start to brace for it), but it did make this a much more somber romance than I expected, based on the first half. Like when tragedy happens in real life, there is a distinct feeling of Before and After the Incident. It marks both characters and this romance, in a palpable way and that changed the tone of the story. If you don’t mind a shift in perspective, from lighter to a much more serious type of read, I think you can enjoy this like I did.

My biggest quibble in romances (besides cheating, because hard pass on those) are the emotional runners. They get me, every time. I will say, even if I’m not a fan of the running either one does at different points in the story, I felt that it was in character for them to do it.  It fed their core obstacle in an organic way, so I wasn’t mad at it, when all is said and done.  Time flies by because of the running each one does from their feelings and the fear of being rejected and there are regrets along the way. As the reader, I wanted to push them to figure it out, but like any good romance, in the end, Ms. Strom lead them where they needed to be.  I loved their final scenes enough to forgive them for their delays in giving me…I mean themselves their HEA.

I really enjoyed this read.  Jane and Caleb made an impression on me with their romance. This is my first book by Ms. Strom and based on this, I’d like to read more by her. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to fans of friends to lovers romances, as long as you’re in the mood for a bit of sad with your sweet.

– Ivy

*An ARC was received for an honest review.

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