I had wanted to read this book ever since I read Drive By Wedding, which features the daughter of the heroine in Accompanying Alice. I enjoyed this book even though it was sometimes bogged down by way too much family but I was prepared for that since I had read Drive by Wedding and in that we had met the extended family of Alice, her six other sisters and their kids.
Alice has had a bad week, she has just turned thirty-five, her twin eighteen year old daughters have just graduated high school, one of her daughters has taken off on adventure and another one has eloped with her boyfriend and is pregnant, making her a grandmother and the book-store she has worked in for ages is closing down. So, a bad week. She wonders if she has been a bad mother and if her daughters have not learned from her mistakes.
You see Alice was the eldest of seven sisters and became pregnant at sixteen with the first boy she slept with Matt. Matt was a year older than her and they eloped and got married but when his parents found out they made her feel cheap and got her marriage annulled. So, Alice was left a pregnant high school student and she sucked it up and dedicated herself to being a mother, but now her kids are gone and it is her time, time to find out who she is because in many ways she is not mature, not when it comes to men, sexuality and relationships, she is just Alice, plain responsible.
She has been raised to be helpful so when she sees a man lying down on the street she goes to help and has a gun pointed at her head and a man asking for her ID and then telling her about him being undercover FBI, masquerading as a dirty cop and his partner being killed and his friends being traitors, it is like going down a rabbit hole, her life is dull and boring and not with men asking her to hide him in her house.
Gabriel the hero has been an agent for fifteen years and has seen a lot of darkness in those years with his work undercover and is quite cynical but it comes as a shock to him that one of his friends is guilty. Staying in Alice's house is a revelation since her youngest sister is getting married, so it is a hub for all her family and he comes to experience real life and family after a long time. Alice makes him aware of the eccentricities of her family, how they don't stop setting her up at weddings and these two pretend to be a thing.
Even though they hadn't known each other long and every portion of each other's past their relationship blossomed fast on an emotional level. Alice who couldn't figure out her own life could see through to Gabriel's problems and emotions and maybe that came from taking care of others all those years. Gabriel was raised as the only son of missionaries, non-violent and he tried to follow that way of life but he saw too much bad and joined law enforcement and even though his parents didn't understand his choice, they supported him, but his missions changed him, made him darker and that came between him and his parents.
I enjoyed these two together though like LLC I did feel they spent a lot of time on introspection. Alice was in many ways emotionally like a confused teenager with Gabriel and given her inexperience that was understandable. She had been burned once badly and left with two daughters to raise. She did tell Gabriel though that Matt came back twice in her life, once when she gave birth and when he graduated college, both time to ask her to marry him but by that time Alice had stopped loving him and there was no trust from her side so she sent him away but he called only her to ask about his daughters but made no contact, this made me feel ambivalent.
There is loads of drama in the book, her sister elopes, her married daughter comes back finding out she is not pregnant and confused and then there is a double wedding for her daughter and already married sister and the other daughter is stranded by her friends. Plus there are her well meaning but interfering relatives. Everytime Alice and Gabriel were not on page together, I wanted them to be, their emotional connection was awesome and I loved the epilogue. The quick romance worked for me.