The Tourist Attraction first showed up on my radar when one of my favorite bloggers, Jana (blogger at The Artsy Reader Girl) was raving about it on Twitter. Right off the bat I was interested – it boasts a grumpy male love interest, an idyllic Alaskan setting, and a troublemaking moose. What more could I ask for?
When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…
Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.
The Tourist Attraction is Sarah Morgenthaler’s debut novel – and what a great start to what I’m sure will be a promising career. This book goes well beyond the typical minimal world building that most rom-com books do. From the first pages, you can practically smell the evergreens and feel the crisp winter air in Moose Springs. The setting was shockingly immersive – besides making me want to find a grumpy restaurateur to fall in love with, this book made me want to book a ticket to Alaska as soon as it is safe to do so. The story itself was well paced and hard to put down. It would be easy to read this book in a single sitting.
Graham was the perfect kind of grumpy: he was grumpy because he was in a paradoxical situation and really had his walls up high. He had opened a restaurant with the design to drive tourists away (he was rude to customers, offered very few options, and was generally a terrible business person) but instead of keeping the tourists at bay, he drew them in droves because they all wanted the authentic rude diner experience. It’s easy to understand why he hated the tourists in his town: they were often rich snobs that caused more trouble than they were worth.
Enter Zoey: a wide-eyed tourist who had dreamed of visiting Alaska for years. Sadly, her dream trip seemed to be doomed at every turn. After getting too drunk on growly bear cocktails at Graham’s restaurant, the two developed a connection quickly. Zoey slowly weaseled her way through Graham’s preconceptions about tourists and his grumpy exterior. One thing I really loved about Zoey was the fact that she knew what she wanted and eventually grew to the point that she was brave enough to seize it.
If you’re looking for a fun, romantic story with a richly described setting and excellent side characters, The Tourist Attraction is the book for you. If you’ve already read this book, make sure you check out the two companion books, Mistletoe and Mr Right and Enjoy the View. If you’re still looking for other great romantic comedies, check out You Deserve Each Other and Take a Hint, Dani Brown. 5/5