by Jeannie Chin
Publication: August 23, 2022
Series: Blue Cedar Falls #2
**I was provided a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
Unlike her sisters, May had a difficult time in high school, so she moved away for college as soon as she possibly could, returning home as little as possible. A work assignment brings May back to Blue Cedar Falls where she will have to face her family and Han, the ex she left behind, the person she never quite got over. It was wonderful to return to the small town. I enjoyed the book more than the first one, but I also had conflicting feelings about Han.
Return to Cherry Blossom Way is character-driven with May and Han constantly in their heads obsessing and ruminating over the same thing–seeing the other person and the return of feelings long thought resolved. I enjoy character introspection, so did not mind it at all. The majority of the book is the two making eyes at each other and somewhat denying their feelings while also recalling their shared past. The feelings evoked, from the fear to the nervousness, were deftly done. I could feel them gravitating toward each other, and I was all for it–well, mostly.
Despite enjoying the story, I was on edge throughout because of something that seemed like a throwaway comment, but I knew wasn’t. When you read a lot of romance novels, you know when something is a hint about what’s to come. It made me hurt for May, and I wanted her to get out of there as soon as she could because I easily connected with her. Chin has always made it easy for me to connect with her female leads, which is one reason why I’ve enjoyed the series. I was adamantly on May’s side and understood why she was hesitant to return home. May is career-driven, the girl who successfully left town and made it. I wish she had been able to flaunt it a bit more.
While I liked Han in the other books, he was immensely frustrating here–I just kept thinking about how shitty he was. It always seemed like May left him without warning, but their breakup was more complicated. Han’s sense of duty spurs his decisions, and it’s admirable to a point. His woe is me routine bothered me immensely because it felt like he never explicitly took the blame for the role he played in their breakup. It often seemed as though May unfairly shouldered much of the blame just because she left–also, I might have felt this way because I connected easily with her. Their past isn’t resolved in such a way that made me content (I wanted him to acknowledge and apologize for how shitty he was), but I was still rooting for their HEA.
While I may have been conflicted about my feelings about Han, I loved May. I enjoyed the book a lot. If you’re a fan of small town romances, second chances, and a lot of character introspection, I recommend picking up Return to Cherry Blossom Way.