Twice Shy is the highly-anticipated sophomore novel from Sarah Hogle, who broke through with the critically acclaimed You Deserve Each Other last year. While many authors get mixed reviews on their second books, if anything, Twice Shy is receiving a better reception than its predecessor. I agree with public opinion, if anything, I like Twice Shy even more and found it to be a pleasure to read.
Maybell is pretty much stuck in her life, she has only recently been promoted at her hospitality job, but has not been allowed to do anything with her new responsibilities. She has a work frenemy she can barely tolerate, so when news of a surprising inheritance comes her way, Maybell wastes no time getting out of dodge.
Maybell’s beloved but distant Great-Aunt Violet has willed her crumbling mansion to our heroine, but there’s a catch: Maybell has to share the lot with grumpy, gorgeous groundskeeper Wesley. Not only is she required to share the decrepit, broke estate with a stranger, this stranger has a different vision than Maybell for the property.
As the two begin to clean out the huge house, Maybell and Wesley go from uncomfortable friction to a different kind of awareness, one that could mean trouble. Maybell has strong boundaries for a reason: her bad track record with men and difficult upbringing make her cautious of any handsome guy who happens to cross her path, or in this case, be thrown into it. It doesn’t help that Maybell has a history with Wesley, one he doesn’t even know about.
I adored this book, it works on a lot of levels. I love Hogle’s penchant for working-class heroines and emotional heroes. I think we also see a lot of Maybell’s trauma without being hit over the head with it, and I think Wesley’s mental health struggles are dealt with in a really amazing way. My only critique of that would have been having a “he got therapy and maybe medication” epilogue, because I don’t think we see enough of that. Contrary to popular belief, loving and trusting someone does not fix anxiety disorders! I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the representation and I did really love Wesley and empathize with him, so that’s just a small issue for me.
I would definitely recommend Twice Shy to any fan of You Deserve Each Other, it’s really different but the emotional resonance, complex characters and strong writing cary over. I can’t wait to see what Hogle does next!