A Cute Story

4 out of 5 stars

Mailboat is a delightful journey that takes you down the river of emotions (see what I did there – it’s okay, I feel the eye roll), delivering a heartfelt and charming love story. Wen, our lovable mailboat captain, is the kind of character who tugs at your heartstrings from the first page. Her genuine care for the people of Coopersville and her dreams of exploring beyond the small town create an instant connection with the reader. Especially when she puts those dreams on hold to make sure that the mailboat and its route is taken care of.

Estelle, tucked away on Owl Island, adds a layer of mystery to the tale. Despite the obvious wealth associated with her family, it’s refreshing that her interactions with Wen don’t immediately showcase this aspect. The slow revelation of Estelle’s background adds an intriguing element to their budding connection.

One of the standout features of Mailboat is its relatively low angst, allowing the characters’ personalities and the blossoming romance to take center stage. Wen’s occasional moments of panic are relatable, especially for those who’ve navigated relationships across social classes. The authenticity of these reactions adds depth to Wen’s character and resonates with readers who’ve faced similar challenges.

Estelle’s kindness and consideration shine through creating a touching portrayal of love. Her unwavering reassurance to Wen, coupled with their evolving relationship, forms the heart of the story. The chemistry between the characters feels genuine, making their journey all the more engaging. I like that they seemed to both fall into bed quickly but also navigate the larger things slowly. It worked out in such a cute and interesting way.

The backdrop of the mailboat adds a unique and captivating touch to the narrative. The rhythmic flow of Wen’s deliveries mirrors the ebb and flow of their relationship. The ending, without giving away any spoilers, is a brilliant culmination that ties the story together, leaving readers with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Mailboat is a sweet and enchanting tale that explores love, self-discovery, and the magic of unexpected connections. With lovable characters, a unique setting, and a touch of mystery, Cade Haddock Strong has crafted a story that stays with you, much like the gentle ripples of the river Wen navigates with her mailboat.

Book Description:

Wen Apollo dreams of seeing the world beyond the small riverside town where she grew up. But operating the local mailboat keeps her tethered to Coopersville. Islands dot the river, and their residents rely on her to deliver everything from food and medicine to pet food and plumbing supplies.

On a raw spring day, Wen goes to Owl Island—the summer home of the illustrious Gage family—to deliver a package. It’s addressed to the family’s oldest daughter, Estelle, a woman Wen has long admired from afar.

Estelle Gage fled to the islands seeking solitude and an escape. With the deadline for her latest novel fast approaching, her sole focus is to write. But when the handsome mailboat captain shows up on her doorstep, writing is no longer the only thing on her mind.

A steady stream of packages continues to bring Wen back to Owl Island—and to Estelle. But as summer looms, so does the impending arrival of Estelle’s family. The return of the Gages will most certainly spell the end to Estelle and Wen’s idyllic time cloistered together on the island. What will that mean for their budding relationship?

Mailboat by Cade Haddock Strong
Narrator: Ellie Gossage
Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
Published by Tantor Audio on August 1st 2023
Genres: Age Gap, LesFic/Sapphic Fiction
Format: Audiobook
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