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Our Review

‘It was life. I wanted to start living a life that was mine and not just watching from the outside.’

We’ve loved books by Rachel Higginson in the past so when Decisions We Make After Midnight, book one in her new series Decisions in Durham landed on our kindles we jumped straight in. We were immediately swept up in a sweet and funny romance. Lola Ellis is stuck in a life that’s been mapped out for her by her parents and she’s about to make the biggest commitment of her life, under what you may call ‘duress’ or heavy family pressure. Taking a timeout to go into hiding at her best mate’s house, Lola finds herself in unchartered waters when she applies for a waitress job and becomes spellbound by one of the bar owners. She’s so far out of her comfort zone and her ‘beige’ life that everything becomes a tad overwhelming but oh so very interesting suddenly. Keeping who she is and what her family does a secret, Lola not only finds strength and conviction she never knew was within her, but she also finds a man she never knew she needed in her life.

“You’re playing with fire, Lola.”
“I’m not scared…Not of you, Will English.”
“Maybe you should be.”

Will English is such a moody and stand-off-ish bloke, but hey, that’s what makes him so appealing, a serious but fabulous personality, with that attractive sarcastic dry wit. You just know there’s going to be so much more to this man than meets the eye. Between him and his two siblings, the bar they own comes across as a bit of a madhouse. But a posh one at that! We have to say, we were so intrigued by them all and hope they get their own book too.

‘Nothing about Will was forgettable. Not last night nor all the nights before.  Not even this morning. He didn’t just stop by for a brief hello during my life. He’d barged in, cleared out a whole lot of space, and set up camp.’

This romance was a real feel-good read, it’s also a wonderfully slow build despite that initial strong attraction. The characters had great connection and chemistry, as well as maturity and hilarious banter. The romance was swoony and somehow vulnerable, as both Lola and Will reassessed their priorities and what they want out of life. We do have to admit that one part made our hearts break for Will after a certain scene with Lola, and we questioned the why’s of it. Whilst we applauded her convictions of change, the way she went about it seemed unnecessary and created a drama that wasn’t needed in this beautiful story. True love can come with great sacrifices but what you gain can truly be worth it in the end! Now excuse us while we go make some cocktails…. courtesy of Will English of course!

“Well, if there had to be one who got away, she might as well have been the best damn catch, I could have imagined.”

Synopsis

Lola Ellis has a picture-perfect life. Until she doesn’t.

Successful, engaged to the man of her dreams, and focused. Until suddenly she’s questioning her position in the family company, her fiancé’s fidelity, and everything she thought she knew about life.

On her way to Florida to open a new branch of the family business and meet her fiancé Owen, she unexpectedly detours to visit her best friend in Durham, North Carolina. What was meant to be a week of rest and relaxation as she gets her mind right stretches into a permanent TBD. She can’t face the future waiting for her in Destin, Florida. And the longer she stays in Durham, the less she wants to.

Will English is an uptight, arrogant bartender who keeps scaring away waitresses. Too busy micromanaging his co-owning siblings, his patience is thin when it comes to the rest of the business. When Lola takes a job at his bar to fill her time while she decides what to do about the mess her life has suddenly become, he decides not to engage with the clearly underqualified new waitress. She’s clumsy, clueless, and costing him too much money every time she gives away another round of drinks because she’s messed up again. And yet… there’s something about her that keeps him from dismissing her.

Together, after the bar closes every night, they forge a friendship that doesn’t fit into either of their lives. Lola’s stay in Durham is only temporary. And Will’s roots in the city are deeply established. A relationship doesn’t make sense. But sometime after midnight one night… they decide they don’t care.

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