Published by Revell Books on March 3, 2020
Source: the publisher
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Home is the place to heal, right? At least, that's what Dillon Michaels is hoping as she leaves her disappointing career and nonstarter love life behind to help her grieving and aging grandfather on his small Oregon farm. The only problem? Her eccentric mother beat her there and has taken over Dillon's old room. After a few nights sleeping on a sagging sofa, Dillon is ready to give up, until she receives an unlikely gift--her grandfather's run-down vintage camp trailer, which she quickly resolves to restore with the help of Jordan Atwood, the handsome owner of the local hardware store.
But just when things are finally beginning to run smoothly, Dillon's noncommittal ex-boyfriend shows up with roses . . . and a ring.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I just flew through this book! The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson features Dillon Michaels, who comes back home to her grandfather’s farm after losing both her boyfriend and her job in the same day. When she gets back to the farm, she finds that her mother has unexpectedly arrived first and has taken over her bedroom. Forced to sleep on the uncomfortable couch, Dillon re-evaluates whether or not coming home was the best of ideas. But then her grandfather gifts her an old vintage camper that he has out in one of the barns. It needs some work and some fixing up, but if Dillon wants it, it’s hers. She decides to give the camper a makeover and perhaps even move into it.
There are several things in this story that I always LOVE reading in books: renovation, camping, gardening, and sweet grandparents. Dillon’s relationship with her grandfather is so precious-it reminds me of how close I was to my grandpa when he was living. The two work well together on the farm, and I love how Dillon tries to keep her grandmother’s memory alive by honoring her with her work and by doing the things that her grandmother loved. I love, love, love the way Dillon honors her grandmother and the way that love and respect really came through in the story.
The romantic relationship is really nice too. Jordan Atwood owns the local hardware story and ends up crossing paths with Dillon lots of times as she re-establishes herself in town and then renovates her camper. It isn’t surprising that the two grow to really like one another, but the budding relationship is threatened a bit when Dillon’s ex-boyfriends comes to town with big plans to win her back. Watching Dillon and Jordan navigate their growing feelings for one another was sweet, and I appreciate that it was uncomfortable and awkward for them a couple of times when one or the other felt insecure because of hurts from their past.
I felt like I was living on the farm and renovating the camper myself. It was easy to visualize what was going on in every scene. It makes me wish I had a vintage camper hanging out on my very own farm (but sadly I do not). Dillon’s relationship with her mother is really strained to begin with because her mother is so cringey and unlikable, but it is super great to see that even while these two gritted teeth and butted heads a lot, but were able to forgive and get along much better by the end of the book.
The only thing that I wish about this story was that it continued a little more after that ending. I’d love to get a little bit more from just about all of these characters. At any rate, I loved this one and found that it was a perfect read for this time of social distancing and staying in for weeks on end.