The Beautiful Things Shoppe is one of those magical enemies-to-lovers romances in which neither character comes off like a jerk. Danny and Prescott end up sharing an antiques shop and have completely opposite approaches to the venture. Danny sells old bits of pop culture including a cartoony cookie jar and Prescott prefers high-end furniture and housewares. They have an immediate dislike for each other, but it's a flimsy thing that quickly gives way to respect and then those inconvenient feelings.
The Beautiful Things Shoppe is a softer book than the first in the series, The Hideaway Inn. The setting remains the same--a diverse, queer small town full of wonderful secondary characters--but while the first deals heavily with toxic masculinity in the gay community, this is just a soft story with moments of humor. As Danny introduced Prescott to everyone in town and he's welcomed in, I felt welcomed as well. I'm rather envious, honestly. Who doesn't want a super queer town full of annoyingly friendly people who want the best for you? There's also a campaign to save a couple of historical buildings in New Hope and I liked being reminded that a small group of people can accomplish things if they work together. (Prescott's real-estate developer ex is an ass who sexually harasses him, just a heads up about that.)
One of the characters prefers to take his time with physical intimacy so the romance is fairly low heat, but the author has done a great job--with both books in this series--of letting the characters lead the relationship development. Everything feels natural rather than forced, with no obligatory sex scenes that feel out-of-character.
I enjoyed The Hideaway Inn, but I loved The Beautiful Things Shoppe. It's a big warm hug and I hope Philip William Stover writes a hundred more.
Audio Notes: This audiobook was great! Michael Dean and Kale Williams co-narrate and I felt their voices were distinct and reflective of the characters' inverted or extroverted personalities. Here's a libro.fm link (not affiliate).
If you'd like to purchase a copy of this book, please consider using one of these links to support the site:
Content Warnings: sexual harassment and mentions of a past partner pressuring one of the MCs, mentions of a character cheating on a MC, past parental abandonment/addiction issues, poverty
I received an audio copy of this book for review from Harper Audio, but I purchased my own copy after loving it.