Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ HOLLY LANE BY J.B. MORGAN

Hollie + Layne = One trip. One week. One chance meeting that they’ll never forget. Two hearts. Two different places, and one event that could change it all.
Hollie goes off on her senior class trip with her best friends expecting some fun in the sun before starting life after high school. She didn’t expect to meet Layne.
Layne is stationed in Hawaii, anticipating his next deployment. He doesn’t expect to meet a girl that will change his life.
This Christmas, take a stroll down Holly Lane where you’ll discover the unique journey of friendships, a town full of holiday joy, and the healing power of love.
Note: This is not a heavy book. It’s light, has swoony romance, filled with humor and great friendships with some holiday magic thrown in.

After reading several dark and emotional books, I decided to go with a sweet and lighthearted read like this one. It was definitely refreshing and relaxing to read a story that was drama-free and had extremely likable characters. And with the main setting revolving around Christmas time, it’s the perfect holiday romance and guaranteed to warm your heart and make you smile.
At the heart of this book is a second chance romance between first loves. A summer not so long ago, the heroine Hollie and the hero Layne had a chance encounter while both were on vacation in Hawaii and in the course of a week, fell in love. While at first I did think oh boy, another case of insta-love but as I read more, I felt like the author did a good job of convincing me of the characters’ connection and made this cynic believe that it was love at first sight that struck Hollie and Layne.
“There are some people who you meet in life, and you just know that you are meant to be in their lives. You have an instant connection, and you can’t fathom letting it go.”
With Hollie going back to her hometown and Layne being dispatched in the Army, both resolve to hold onto their new but solid romance and maintain a long-distance relationship.
What follows is a 2-year long separation defined by the occasional visit and exchanging letters and emails. Through these, I could really see how strong Layne and Hollie’s relationship was despite the distance separating them and it just bolstered the dreamy belief that love conquers all. But at the same time my biggest disconnect with the story occurred here. It just seemed like the only thing the book focused on was their enduring love that encompassed the entire story and I just wanted more…plot? I would’ve loved to get more of Layne’s experiences in the Army as he was sending Hollie letters or Hollie’s daily life as she was in contact with Layne. In short, I need a plot to go along with the romance as romance by itself quickly bores me.
A plot twist does happen and though predictable, it was the first major dent in the couple’s relationship so I was curious to see how things would be worked out. As per the author’s style and in alignment with the book’s cheerful holiday theme, all conflicts are resolved amicably and sweetly, and Hollie and Layne’s story comes full circle.
Aside from the underwhelming plotline and predictability, I did like this book. It was exactly what I was in the mood for, and no matter how much I scoffed at the romance in the beginning because it was a typical insta-love case, by the end I couldn’t help but soften towards these characters. It’s because of how fairytale-like their romance is that will make the reader dream big and believe in all things sweet and mushy.
Holly Lane is a standalone romance with a fairly straightforward and simple plot and is perfect for anyone in the mood for a quick and lighthearted holiday read.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.