I love small-town romance -- where everyone seems to know everyone else and there is a strong sense of community involvement with a douse of neighborhood drama. However, I tend to get my dose of small-town romance from MF contemporary. I haven't found one in MM that fit to my liking. Most of the time I find the character in MM romance cannot wait to leave their small town because of the homophobic attitudes of the people or that they want to embrace their freedom of having more gay community in the big city.
Dogwood Days is a departure of Dennison's usual genre -- I think previously she just deals with paranormal -- and I enjoyed this, more so than my previous experience with Dennison's books. It definitely had the charm of small-town romance I usually get from MF, including its 'politics'. The town and its people are strong in vineyard gossips, and they make huge things on what we probably think as small things, but I found it charming since they also know how to take care of their own. This fictional small town of Holly Creek also is not filled with homophobic stance towards the gay men -- heck, they even have a gay Sherrif and a gay mayor! *lol*
Jefferson is a DELIGHTFUL character, his snark is entertaining. I thought the dialogs here was also a winner. It has a quick rat-tat-tat-tat tempo, like banters that I can find while watching classic movies (you know, like Hepburn and Tracy's). It made the pace moved pretty fast. I did think that the love interest, Sherrif Zane, might not be as better developed as Jefferson though. I mean, he was okay, he had his charming moments, but I thought Jefferson's Uncle, Sherman, and his friend Clover Crofton had stronger presence whenever they were around compared to Zane. Heck, I was even more intrigued with Sherman and his mayor compared to the development of Jefferson and Zane's romance.
This story lacks sexy steamy moments, which is totally fine by me. However, because of the reason I previously explained, I couldn't give four stars to this yet. There was also a mention of a murder case which I thought was a bit out of context, like it was referring to an event that happened in the prequel of this book or another series, which I need to know about but don't, you know? Plus it didn't fit with the vibe of the story.
Having said that, if this is developed into a series, I am interested to be with the Holly Creek people again. To say the least, I need to know if Sherman and Charles finally will seal the deal, or if Mary Jane will win the Rose Festival and take the mantle from Clover, and how Jefferson deals with the ins and outs of 'making good things' for the town.