Hollywood actress, Raquel Ezra, is used to being judged by the Hollywood scene so when she meets Sheriff Jackson James while in Green Valley for a wedding she finds his good manners, and lack of being awestruck refreshing. So refreshing that she leaves the wedding early in order to spend some time along with him. Years later, burned out from her fake life, she returns to Green Valley dreaming of finding the same man still waiting. However, despite feeling that same instant attraction, he’s not interested in quick fun. He’s ready to settle down and she doesn’t know if she’s that person. Totally Folked is a totally cute tale about two people who don’t seem to know what they want except to somehow find their way back to each other.
This series is an off-shoot of Reid’s Winston Brothers series and I’ll admit, Jackson James was not my favorite side character. As the sheriff he was always so straight, but seeing what goes inside the mind of that man was really insightful and if I’ll admit, kind of made me sad. His initial connection to Raquel Ezra was a mix of being a gentleman and being slightly naughty. That dichotomy was really confusing, in a good way, and I knew I had to keep reading so I could figure him out. Raquel on the other hand was pretty much what she seemed, albeit much smarter than her persona. A Hollywood ingenue, she was a rising star that was quickly burning out from all that she had to do to make it rise. She didn’t know what she wanted out of life and because of that she fixated on how perfect that one evening was with Jackson James. What bothered me the most out of her character was that when things got difficult she didn’t make a plan and see it through she would start to run. That’s annoying! Luckily, fate seemed to throw the two of them together (as well as some other well meaning characters) and I saw some other sides to Raquel that helped me like her and root for she and Jackson as a couple.
One of the things I really admire about Penny Reids’s stories besides that they are quirky fun, is that the characters are flawed in a way that strikes an emotional chord. This novel was no different. Both Jackson and Raquel had insecurities that ran deep and formed them into the people they were today. Reid opens up her characters so that the reader can see what drives them and forms that connection with the reader and helps us build empathy. Yes, I thought Raquel needed to face her problems and stop running away but that feeling is driven by my own insecurities, not hers. Which kind of makes my point. By reading about these flawed characters we see things in ourselves that we may identify with or something we find shameful within ourselves that we want to change. The resolution to that character flaw is the reason why I came to care for the characters so much and that was certainly the case in this novel.
Totally Folked was the first novel in a new series and just as with all of Penny Reid’s other novels, they are a must read. This one was sweet, painful, joyful, and funny. All of the things I like from a great novel.
Click this link to purchase this book!* Totally Folked: A Small Town Romance Folktale retelling (Good Folk: Modern Folktales Book 1)
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