Release Blitz + Review: Simple by B.N. Toler

The Kepner brothers had been dealt a bad hand at life. Misfortune, debt, and death had them fighting an endless uphill battle, but through it all they remained united—when everything seemed hopeless, at least they had each other.

When Emalee Jennings blew into town for a summer stay, she was immediately drawn to the Kepner family and immersed herself in their lives, much to the dismay of the youngest brother Cole. 

Despite his efforts to keep his distance, Cole couldn’t wall out Emalee, as he’d done with the rest of the world. Her beauty, sass, and big dreams swiftly broke down his defenses, and amidst the long sweltering days and fields of wheat, they fell in love—both fully aware when the summer ended, they would part ways. 

When Emalee unexpectedly returns years later, facing her own hand of misfortune, Cole is suddenly faced with a second chance as he rushes to her side, ready to help her battle what life has thrown at her.

Desperate for a safe place to land, Emalee wants nothing more than to fall into the arms of the love of her life, but it’s not as simple as it may seem. When she left town at the end of that fateful summer, she took with her a secret. 

A secret that could not only cause Cole to close the door on her forever, but one that could tear apart the very thread of his existence—his family. 

Torn between taking comfort in his arms or revealing her secret, Emalee soon learns that love is never simple. 

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**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review**

"The end of Emalee and Cole. The end of an infamous summer love. The end of first love."

Simple is a contemporary second-chance romance that is told in two parts: the past and present. The first three chapters are in present time, but then we are taken back ten years in the past to see how the main characters Cole and Emalee met. So in the first half of the story we see how these two met and developed a relationship. Cole is dealing with a lot and doesn't have time or need for a girlfriend. He was very broody and did his best to push Emalee away. However, Emalee isn't that easy to shake off and she sees something special in him. I absolutely loved Emalee's personality, she was fun and very caring. She was really there for Cole when he needed her. I was glad that their split when the summer ended wasn't over the top dramatic. It wasn't the right time for them, it was sad but the right decision. 

"It made me sad for a moment that I'd missed seeing her transition. She was like a book missing the middle of the story. I knew the gist of it, but I'd missed the magic in the pages that had brought her here."

I was happy that the past time was told in one huge part. However, I thought the present time was too short. The story was a bit too fast-paced, and I thought the author rushed through some scenes. I wanted more time to bond with the characters and more time for Cole and Emalee to grow stronger as a couple. Especially the end was rushed and the absence of an epilogue left me unsatisfied. However, I am hoping that Cole's brothers Joe and Bailor will get their own book and I will have the opportunity to see what Cole and Emalee are up to. Joe and Bailor were great side-characters and I am very intrigued by them, so fingers crossed they will get their own book. There were also a couple of very emotional scenes which had me shedding tears. Overall, Simple was a nice second-chance romance. It wasn't my favorite by this author but I enjoyed it nonetheless.


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