Synopsis via Goodreads: Happily married to her college sweetheart, Poppy lived a blessed life with the husband of her dreams. Then everything changed. She is no longer a wife. She is no longer the envy of her single friends. Now, people look at her with pity as they whisper a single word behind her back.
Years after her husband’s tragic death, years of pain and sorrow and wishing for the life she’ll never get back, Poppy decides to finish Jamie’s birthday list. She’ll do the things he wanted to most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can complete his list, she can start to live again.
Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who delivered the news of her husband’s death and shattered her heart be the one to help her put it back together again?
Devney Perry is an author who has been on my must-read radar for some time now but I wasn’t in the mood to read a series so when I heard about her upcoming standalone, I thought it would be the perfect time to give this new-to-me author a try. The Birthday List is a heartfelt romance about love, loss, life and taking chances. Poppy Maysen had it all until one devastating night changed her life. Five years later and Poppy still mourns the loss of her husband, but she keeps pushing forward and honors the memory of her lost love by trying to complete the tasks on his “birthday list”. While on this journey of healing, Poppy meets Cole Goodman who shows her that if she truly wants to move on, she’s going to have to start living…for her own self.
I finally understand why everyone raves about Devney Perry’s books! Right from the prologue, I was in tears because even though I knew what was going to happen, the way things went down just gutted me. The writing is beautiful and the story itself is so deep and heartfelt. I loved the concept of “the birthday list” which essentially is a bucket list. Perry totally had me wanting to create my own list of goals and future adventures. What I like about this story is that it’s not just about a widow trying to move on with her life, but we also have some suspense as Poppy and Cole try to figure out who murdered Poppy’s husband. Everything ended up coming back full circle in the end and it was so mind-blowing because I did not expect things to have played out that way—hence why I say I was gutted.
My favorite character has to be Cole. I initially thought I wasn’t going to like him because he does come off as a cocky son of a bitch, but he’s such a gentleman. He’s sweet, caring, patient and a great listener. He listened to Poppy talk about her husband and he helped her achieve some of the tasks on his list and he waited until she was ready to take that next step to make his move. I just freakin’ adore him so much! Poppy is a character you’re gonna need to have some patience with because she does go back and forth a lot between her heart and her head. She feels guilty for having feelings for another man, but at the same time she has to come to terms with the fact that her husband isn’t coming back so it’s okay for her to move on and be happy. The romance is a slow-burn and I loved it! It felt so right once things fell into place for Poppy and Cole and I was happy how things came together for them in the end. It may have took them a while to find their happiness, but it was worth it.
The secondary characters were hilarious! They brought some humor to this story and just kept things light when it was needed. I won’t give any spoilers away, but I am hoping that maybe a few of these secondary characters get their own books because I think they have their own stories to tell and I want them to get their happily-ever-afters, too.
The Birthday List was an amazing read from cover to cover and I’m so glad I decided to pick this book up. I’m excited to binge-read Perry’s Jamison Valley series sometime this summer and I’ll make sure to grab some tissues when I do because if that series is anything like The Birthday List then I’m gonna need them.