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Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite
I am surprised by how much I loved The Gallery at Bristol Pines by Bob Mandala. It was so good that, even though romance is not my favorite genre, I simply could not put it down. I loved the characters, I loved the town, I loved the focus on art, sports, and getting through tough times. Bob Mandala writes with a delicate touch that deals with the harsher aspects of life in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you, but inserts those light, beautiful moments that make life worth living. I enjoyed The Gallery at Bristol Pines immensely. It is not a heavy, somber read but it is realistic enough to draw you into the story and characters. It reads like the very best of romantic comedies and I would certainly watch this story on the big screen.
There are several areas where The Gallery at Bristol Pines shines. First, there is the plot. It brings everything and everyone together in a believable way that works. Then there is the setting. I was born in the American south, but I spent some time in small New England towns and I just love them. They are special and there is nothing quite like them anywhere in the world. The characters are the heart of any story though and Bob Mandala does his characters very well indeed. I liked them all. I liked Luke and related to him on several levels. I liked his mother Shelley and sympathized with the tough situation into which she was suddenly thrust. I liked Alec and really related to his adventures as a single dad, but I loved the twins. All these elements come together to make a modern romance that I found hard to put down.