Wingman by Tess Oliver
"I'd taken that proverbial road trip to 'find myself', and along the way, I'd also found the person who I needed to keep myself whole."
It had started like any other day in Butterfield. The fountain in the park, once the town's pride and joy and the scene of jubilant town celebrations, sputtered to life with the usual trickle of murky green water. Its withering neighbor, the ornate town pavilion, choked quietly on rust. The tall spindly weeds that had found a permanent home in the cracked channels of the sidewalk stood firmly in place. The townsfolk shuffled to their destinations, as always, dragging their broken hearts along behind them. And I pedaled my bicycle to the corner market to start my work day.
They came out of nowhere. Two strangers, one tall with dark hair and a smile that could melt a frozen heart, and one with four white paws and a tail that never stopped spinning. Just a guy and his dog.
It had started like any other day in Butterfield ...
This cover looks nice and happy, doesn’t it.
The story is really heartbreaking.
The town is slowing down and dying. The people who live there don’t really live. The life has been sucked out of everything except for the small cemetery plot holding twelve very well cared for tombstones.
Which makes Fynn choosing to stop there on his cross-country trek surprising. There’s nothing to entice someone to spend time in this place, but he seems drawn to the once beautiful playground that’s at the center of the town. And he chooses to linger longer once he’s met Ella. Ella is unexpected. Ella is the one bright spot in the dreary, run downtown and she becomes the spark for both Fynn and the town.
There was so much to this town that was going on behind the scenes. Everyone had secrets, they all had reasons for allowing the town to decay. I could see how this happened and I empathized with them. Tess did a fantastic job of capturing the feeling of a town that was just existing, until it just finally gave up, and how it slowing started to come back to life with the arrival of Fynn. It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t with a bang, it was like someone slowly coming out of a deep, troubled sleep.
Fynn and Ella’s relationship is convoluted. They’ve never met before, but they’re connected in so many ways. I loved how the story unfolded at its own pace and with a few surprise turns. It definitely sets you up to question whether they’ll get their HEA and I am not going to spoil that for you.
I’m going to let you take the journey along with Fynn and Ella.