Title: Happy Trail
Author: Daisy Prescott
Series: Park Ranger #1, SmartyPants Romance
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 30th June – 7th July 2021
Format: eBook, Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘”Ed wants you to return as soon as possible.”
A man of few words, Ranger Jay Daniels values the calm, quiet solitude of the Great Smoky Mountains. Never quite fitting in with either side of his family, he prefers the company of birds and trees to people.
Yeah, he’d most definitely prefer a bird—any bird, any bird at all, take a vulture for instance—to the human-tornado hybrid that just blew onto his peaceful stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
The path of true love never has run smooth for Olive Perry. After getting dumped and promptly abandoned in the middle of her multi-month hike, Olive swears off men. Determined to finish the long trek by herself, she doesn’t need a prince—or broody and taciturn ranger—to save her.
Yet, when an early snowstorm threatens the mountains, and Ranger Daniels is charged with getting hikers to safety, that includes hot-tempered Olive Perry. Snowed in and forced to share an abandoned cabin, can Olive’s heated intensity melt Jay’s cool reserve?
And if so, will this happy trail lead to true love? Or will their time together be just another bump in the road?
For someone who has been loving the Penny Reid books, I have taken a while to dive into the rest of her SmartyPants Romance world. And as the very first furrow into this journey and world…. I think I picked a good one with Happy Trail. This was fun, light and had just enough connection to the Winston Brothers whilst also being an amazing and independent journey on its own.
I really enjoyed how Prescott was able to weave cultural identity and that feeling of being split throughout this story. Jay’s crisis of personhood, being centred around his half Japanese heritage was so well written. And it also highlighted the ways in which we make assumptions about “belonging” based on a person’s looks.
I really enjoyed Olive’s character arc throughout this story. She is fun and quirky and has zero filter (something I too tend to have issues with). Yet, she does a lot of maturing throughout this story. At the beginning of the hike she is another spoilt girl with no clue as to who she is. But, as she hikes and learns how to feel comfortable with herself… she really becomes her own, wonderful strong person. One that I continuously fell in love with.
Even though this story had a bit of an insta love feeling, the relationship is ultimately based on getting to know one another. Alright, it happens in a very short amount of time. But its built on a foundation of conversations, not lust. I also love that although Olive feels the pull of her feelings for Jay, she does hesitate and refuses to just dive right into his life and an identity as his girlfriend. She even finishes her goals before taking that final step. Which all made me very, very happy.
I loved this book. And although I got a free eBook version, within chapters I went online and ordered not only the paperback version, but also the next book in the series… Stranger Ranger. Now I just have to be patient and wait for them to arrive…