Release Date: September 20th, 2021
CW/TW: Cheating (not the main characters), anxiety and panic attacks, anorexia and eating disorders
Between fielding gossip, saving a drunk woman from herself, and dodging a hot but ill-advised boozy hookup, the weekend leads to a few surprises. She ends up employed with an unexpected bonus—a new friend.
A story of new friends, fresh starts, and a side order of romance served up with a nice cold pint.
Oh man, this book! This is my first venture into Liz Crowe’s fictional world and one thing I can tell you right now is that I love how she writes her stories. What Happens in Denver is rooted in so much honesty and the characters are so real that once you start reading, you’re sucked deep into their lives. And on top of that, this book is brimming with knowledge and information about the brewing business and breweries in America, which just adds another layer to the story she’s telling through Andi. Told in first person single PoV, What Happens in Denver is Andi Rigby’s story of finally becoming the woman she knew she was all along.
Having spent a good portion of her life married to a cheating scumbag while running a business they started together, Andi is both at the top of the world and struggling to make sense of her life. So when said cheating scumbag pulls the rug out from under her, Andi’s forced to relook at the choices she’s made and find her true purpose in the world. Running the brewery smoothly was her whole world and she loved it for what it was, but Andi knows that she’s capable of so much more. While attending a beer convention, Andi not only finds herself with an incredible job, but also a new friend and a suitor she didn’t see coming.
The cover might make you think this is a cute story about beer and falling in love, but it’s so much more than that! Yes, Andi is a beer connoisseur and we get to learn so much about it through the book. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a beer expert to enjoy the story, just being intrigued by beer is enough. Because Andi and James (we’ll talk about him in a minute) drink beer like water and appreciate even the tiniest details, giving you a crash course in IPAs, PBRs and all the other abbreviations you can think of. What Happens in Denver is also a powerful story about not letting society and other people tell you how to live your life, about not letting your struggles and fears take over and break you down. As I mentioned in the trigger warnings, there is quite a bit about eating disorders, but I like to think that Liz handled those scenes with the care they deserved.
Beer is the star of this book (I mean, look at that cover), but Andi and James come a close second. Their friendship starts out shaky and the more she sees him, the more their friendship grows. They’re both coming off of divorces from cheating spouses so they’re not really ready to let the other person in. But that doesn’t stop them from finding time together. Andi lets her guard down around James a lot and I loved that she went through the natural stages of panic and acceptance when James doesn’t even bat an eye. After spending so long putting on a show, it feels good to her to just be herself and James appreciates that more than she can imagine.
What Happens in Denver includes drunken shenanigans, friendships, falling in love with yourself, falling in love with someone new, all of the beer you can think of and a slow burn that will make you squeal every step of the way.
Thanks to Liz Crowe and Kelly Reynolds for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.