Title: THE CHAPEL
Series: FOX RIVER ROMANCE #5
Author: JESS B. MOORE
Genre: CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Publication Date: FEBRUARY 14, 2020
ABOUT THE BOOK
Mallory Johansen has nearly given up on thinking she’ll get her act together—the one where she plays the part of an adult—by the time she hits thirty. As it is she’s desperate and depressed. Her only friend is leaving town, she’s paired to work with a man who can’t stand her, and she finds herself homeless. Definitely hasn’t mastered being a grown-up yet.
Otis Bell wants nothing more than to play his guitar, book acoustic bands to perform at his upcoming music venue, and be in charge of his own life. Instead, he’s working full time in his family’s auto shop. He only owns half the supposed music venue, which stands as an abandoned church and needs more than a little work. When his best friend moves away, he’s paired with an aloof girl he’s never liked as partner, and stretches himself thin working too many hours.
The Chapel is the little music venue that could. Full of potential. Full of ugly carpet, peeling paint, and exhausting work. Mallie and Otis navigate their way through a fledgling partnership, trying their darnedest to get the place up and running, while trying pretty hard not to fall in love in the process.
This book is so easy to read, and I really enjoyed reading it. The storyline was smooth and clear, except for the slight bump in the final few chapters. I didn’t have any expectation for this book, but I was surprised at how good it was after reading it.
The story was so good in so many ways, and the plot was too easy to understand. It was basically about Mallie and Otis, they had to work together to give The Chapel a new look, and during their partnership, they discover something more is happening between them.
It wasn’t only about that, but it was also about finding a purpose in life, taking a chance at falling in love, and wanting to reach the point of success. Reading this book made me feel like the story isn’t even fictional due to everything that happens felt way too real. It was like a mix of fictional and reality which can be scary and yet entertaining.
The characters that appeared in the story are so likable, especially Tyler, Mallie and Otis. Usually, you have characters that you like and dislike in books, but in this one, I couldn’t even find a single character that I don’t like. It was really surprising that the author managed to write big or small characters and make them all amazing.
Mallie is a very hardworking person who still have yet to find what kind of career she want to have, and what path she want to take. Reading the whole situation from her view really hit me so hard. I totally can relate to her character the most because as a 23-year-old adult, I also didn’t know what I want to do, which career path I want to pursue and all I know is that I want to continue being a book blogger. Same as Mallie, despite not knowing what she actually want to do, she still continue doing photography because it’s her passion. This is partly the reason why I really like Mallie’s character. I also admired her for not giving up working on whatever project she had to do, and that she have enough faith in her that life would be better for her. Mallie is strong despite looking so weak, she’s also quite smart and creative in a quiet way, and is an overall a nice person that has a good personality.
Otis on the other hand is the total opposite of Mallie. Anybody can mistook him for having a cold heart. Actually, he is a kind and very responsible guy. He had to shoulder a lot of burden due to his tough life, especially having to step up and take a lot of responsibility ever since his older brother moved out. I feel really bad for him since he had it rough. But I admired his strength for being able to handle any problems, and also I was glad that his motivation to take on the The Chapel project never goes away. He stays motivated the whole time and he really put a lot of effort in trying to give The Chapel a new look. His partnership with Mallie only makes it more lighter for him, at least he doesn’t have to handle the project alone. He is actually a kind man with a big heart who hides behind his cold mask, I loved seeing the different side of him and getting to know who he is when he was and wasn’t around Mallie. Otis is a charmer and also a hardworking person who cares about other people in his life. The fact that he never once complain about Mallie needing his help just shows that he actually has a lot of kindness in him. His character amazed me, surprised me, and I can admit that he is a gem.
Tyler is Mallie’s cousin, and he is the most sweetest human being ever. I loved how he always have a close and strong bond with Mallie. He always be there whenever Mallie needed him. He literally is a man who live his dream. I also melted at the sight of him defending Mallie and standing up for her. He truly cared for his one and only cousin. Tyler is an amazing character just like Mallie and Otis, and he’s also quite the charmer just like Otis. I truly appreciated the author for putting Tyler in the story too and making his character become the reason why Mallie and Otis met.
As for the romance between Mallie and Otis, it was actually a very slow process but worth it. I really loved the build up process, seeing how they went from two people who couldn’t stand each other to two people who slowly fall in love with one another was a beautiful thing to witness. It doesn’t take Mallie and Otis longer for them to realize that all these time they secretly have feelings for each other. They just had a very hard time trying to acknowledge those feelings and showing it. But I loved how later on they confessed their feelings and put a lot of effort into making their relationship work. Obviously, there are a few uncertainties and they needed to be cautious, but I’m just happy that these two take the risk of falling in love and hope for the best. The development of their romance was on point, really brings out all the wonderful moments they shared.
My only problem with this book is the family drama in Otis’ family. The problem with his sister doesn’t feel like it was necessary. I don’t see the importance of it other than trying to create a tension between the Bell’s siblings and making Mallie overthink things which clearly served no purpose at all. The book would do just fine without the little drama in it.
Overall it was a very enjoyable book. I really loved reading this type of simple romance story minus the drama because I’m not the drama-type of person. Mallie and Otis’ story may sound simple, but there are actual life lessons in their story and I find it so relatable. I had a great time reading their story.
Jess B. Moore is a writer of love stories. When she’s not writing, she’s busy mothering her accomplished and headstrong children, reading obscene numbers of books, and knitting scarves she’ll likely never finish.
Jess lives in small town North Carolina with her bluegrass obsessed family. She takes too many pictures of her cats, thinking the Internet loves them as much as she does. She is a firm believer of swapping stories over coffeeor wine, and that there should always be dark chocolate involved.
The Fox River Romance novels combine her interests in family, music, and small towns into a thoughtful tales of growing up and falling in love. These books can be read as stand-alone, or as a series starting with The Guilt of a Sparrow.