Jolie Hadley Corbett is comfortable with her small-town life. She owns the only hair salon in Verbena, North Carolina, and spends her free time with her best friend Emma, her son and her elderly grandmother. Things change, however, when Howdy O’Malley, the owner of the town’s popular hotel and all-day breakfast buffet, dies. Howdy’s death brings to town his grandson, Ryman O’Malley, and brings back to life a feud between the O’Malleys and Hadleys that has gone on for generations.
The feud between the families runs deep and, to complicate matters, Jolie has carried a torch for Ryman since he felt her up in the pool when she was only a teenager. Even though Jolie hasn’t seen Ryman for years, all her old feelings come bubbling to the surface when he comes back to town. Unfortunately, Ryman has not come to town to stay—he’s come to tear down his grandfather’s hotel, which just happens to be the heart of Verbena.
Jolie has put a wall up around herself that is as impenetrable as her hairsprayed ‘do. Although she wants nothing more than to throw her arms around Ryman and let him take care of her, she can’t get past her fear and mistrust—or the fact that the man she’s pined for wants to destroy the fabric of her beloved town by demolishing the hotel. The two have chemistry that can’t be denied, and every time they are near each other, they end up in a heated clinch. Like a modern day Romeo and Juliet, Jolie and Ryman have to get past insurmountable circumstances to be with each other—many of those circumstances in their own heads. Annie Flannigan does a decent job of showing how each person has developed a stubborn personality that could keep them apart, but does a less than stellar job of developing their chemistry. I would have preferred a bit of a build-up before they fell into each other’s arms instead of it happening on their first meeting since childhood.
Although the story may not be deep, descriptions of their passion for each other a bit overdone and the dialogue incredibly cheesy in spots, the novel is a cute one with a spunky heroine who makes it enjoyable. It may not be breaking any new ground, but Flannigan’s Love and a Bad Hair Day is a good way to spend an idle afternoon.