Publication Date: March 28, 2022
Start with a perfect spring weekend full of pretty dresses, high heels, fancy hats, horse races, and bourbon. Combine with a friend-from-childhood lover, Nate Hawthorne, whose ongoing misunderstandings have led Lucy Granger to swear she’ll never move back home. Mix in a splash of combined family pressure for Lucy and Nate to be The Golden Couple. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with plenty of hot, secret hookups. What do you get? A funny sort of romance, chock full of dressing up, mint juleps, an axe-throwing bar, and a huge winning bet at the big race.
I’ve heard of author Liz Crowe over the years but have never picked up one of her books. So, when I saw her looking for reviews on Instagram, I decided it was finally time. And so, I got a copy of Win Place Show.
Win Place Show is billed as a romantic comedy, but it didn’t hit the right notes for me, at least comedy-wise. Win Place Show follows Nate and Lucy. They’ve been friends for years, had a bit of a falling out as teens, and now are in some weird friends with benefits situation.
Nate and Lucy live in different states, but whenever Lucy comes home, they hook up. This story takes place when Locy comes home to participate in all the hubbub surrounding the Kentucky Derby.
Honestly, the book definitely had promise, but I think I didn’t enjoy this book more because I didn’t particularly like Lucy or Nate. Lucy is hanging on to some old wounds and is just a pain to her family and Nate. I couldn’t relate to her and couldn’t understand her motives and actions.
Nate was just as bad. He’s this golden boy who keeps hurting Lucy but then succumbs to her advances. It was just a weird relationship, and I wasn’t seeing any love there.
The secondary characters and setting really saved the book for me. I especially loved Nate’s brother, Harrison, and the little subplot he got. The Derby setting was interesting, and it was fun to go along to some of the parties and events held around the race.
Unlikeable main characters and little character development made this a so-so-read for me. I kept reading, however, hoping for some redemption, but I was left unsatisfied.
Win Place Show had enough interesting secondary characters and action around the Kentucky Derby to keep me reading. But I’m not sure if I’ll try another book by Liz Crowe—I think her style is just not for me.
Liz Crowe is a Kentucky native and graduate of the University of Louisville living in Central Illinois.
She’s spent her time as a three-continent ex-pat trailing spouse, mom of three, real estate agent, brewery owner, and bar manager, and is currently a social media consultant and humane society development director, in addition to being an award-winning author.
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, inside fictional television stations and successful real estate offices, and even in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are compelling and told with a fresh voice.
The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, at times frustrate, and always linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.