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Peek Inside What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor?

After her carefully ordered world imploded, Paige Taylor moved from Manhattan to the tiny beachside town of St. Clair––and took over the local bookstore. Soon Paige discovers that reinventing herself takes more than just a change of address and a pithy quote on Instagram. She needs to face the truth about her life, and that’s something she can’t do alone.

What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor?

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After her carefully ordered world imploded, Paige Taylor cracks up. On her tenth self-help book, it seemed like a good idea at the time to reinvent herself––move from Manhattan to the tiny beachside town of St. Clair––and take over the local bookstore.

But instead of discovering her spiritual Nirvana, she’s neck-deep in a floundering business, the locals treat her like a plague victim, and her mom’s suddenly decided to visit––with no end in sight––and keeps coming home with one surprise after the next.

Added to that pot of crazy, the one guy who sets her pulse racing has sworn off women forever. He’s got a Samsonite filled with baggage, but damn he looks good hauling it down the street. And giving her those sexy half-smiles. And tempting her to take him for a test ride.

Soon Paige discovers that reinventing herself takes more than just a change of address and a pithy quote on Instagram. She needs to face the truth about her life, and that’s something she can’t do alone.


“This is a sweet romance! A Bookshop, a super stressed woman, grumpy man, and a love story. This has a very Netflix movie feel to it!” -Allison D., NetGalley

“This is a truly entertaining fun read.  Paige is a fantastic character and going on her journey for a fresh start in life was a wild crazy ride.” -Bette H., Goodreads

“Ms. Ashby's books always have a tremendous sense of humor and this one is no different. I found myself laughing multiple times as I read, not even caring that I was in a room full of people.” -Heather P., NetGalley

“This was definitely a feel good warm fuzzies romance.” -Tracie’s World of Books

Additional Details

ISBN: 9781640636866
Series: The Belles of St. Clair, Book 1
Release Date: Nov 12, 2018
Page Count: 349
Imprint: august
Genre: contemporary
Tropes: fish out of water, opposites attract

Select Featured Reviews

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By peachygirl March 04, 2019

Oh, this book had everything.
A charming small town with a touching yet sensible BS policy (Trust me, it does not mean bullshit), beautifully flawed characters and liberal tidbits of wisdom, thanks to our Dr.Penny Grove (I still vote for Just say NO!).

Witty, poignant, entertaining and will make you ...more

By Reading In Pajamas December 17, 2018

What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor? (Belles of St. Clair Book 1) by Amanda Ashby
Publication Date: November 12, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna
Rated: 4.5 Stars

I truly enjoyed this light contemporary romance. Not only were Paige and Luke ...more

By Clare January 07, 2019

I loves this book! Such sweet characters, a town that rivals Stars Hollow in its delightfulness, and as well as being sweet and romantic, it’s funny too! ...more

By Christina October 19, 2018

Fun, tender and utterly captivating, Amanda Ashby's What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor? is guaranteed to give you all the feels! ...more

By Katie November 13, 2018

#HappyPubDay to this gorgeous book! What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor? by Amanda Ashby is about Paige Taylor, a book publisher from New York City. After discovering that her fiancé is cheating on her, Paige leaves her big city life behind and buys a bookstore in the small town of St. Clair, Orego ...more

By Fizza November 14, 2018

I loved it! It's such an adorable story with amazing characters and a small town setting. Paige's life is a mess. She is a people pleaser and needs to learn how to say 'no.' After a bad break-up, she really needs to start over. So she buys a bookshop in a small town and moves away. Everyone thinks t ...more

By J_Mc May 25, 2019

The first in the “Belles of St. Clair” series is an utterly charming small-town romance. I thought that the set-up was a little slow, but once Paige opened the bookstore and started meeting the townspeople, it really took off. The town, like any small town, is filled with quirky characters; my favor ...more

By Kate August 02, 2019

Fun romantic comedy

On the advice of a bestselling, self-help guru’s book, thirty-something Paige Taylor decides to make a man-free, fresh start far, far away after her well-ordered life in Manhattan is shattered by the trauma of a cheating, longtime boyfriend. However, in the midst of drowning in an ...more

By Eileen February 09, 2020

I love Paige and her determination to change her life.. This book was such a great story of new beginnings. ...more

By Judy February 14, 2020

This is an absolutely delightful book. It’s funny, poignant, sad and finally happy! Light happy read. ...more

By Konny November 14, 2018

What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor? by Amanda Ashby is a slow burn sweet romance.
Meet Paige Taylor, she's a 36 year old woman and she's about to start over. Her friends call her crazy, but she's had enough of her cheating ex and now it's a new life, new town, new business and new everything.
Only n ...more

By Sandra November 14, 2018

What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor? by Amanda Ashby is a fabulously fun and entertaining read.

This is the book that will make you laugh, will make you cry and yearn for new beginning as you root for Paige to finally have it all.
After a horrible break up, Paige decides to buy a bookstore in a tiny ...more

By Heather November 12, 2018

This book has cursing including a couple of f-bombs, but no sex. If cursing will cause you to leave a bad review you should probably skip this story.

What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor? is a really cute story from start to finish. I thought Paige was great – her ability to take care of her self and ...more

By Melena November 17, 2018

I loved this book!

Paige Taylor needs a change in her life. Inspired by her favorite self-help book Just Say No, she moves from New York City to a small town in Oregon and takes over the local bookstore. There she meets Luke and his daughter Kira who become big parts of her new life.

Amanda Ashby has ...more

By Bette November 11, 2018

This is a truly entertaining fun read. Paige is a fantastic character and going on her journey for a fresh start in life was a wild crazy ride. She has a bookstore that is about to go under since the townspeople seem to want nothing to do with her. Adding to her craptastic life, her mother shows up ...more

By Tracie November 12, 2018

I gave this Book a rating of 5 ✩’s
Title: What Were You Thinking, Paige Taylor?
Series: Belles of St. Clair Book 1
Genre: Clean Contemporary Romance, Small town Romance
Author: Amanda Ashby
Format: Kindle Edition
Published on: November 12, 2018

I voluntarily received a Courtesy Copy of this book from Autho ...more

By Gerri February 02, 2019

I really liked this story; the characters as they were when we first meet them, and how they all are at the end of this book.

Paige decides to start over, so she quits her job, buys a bookstore sight unseen, and move across the country. With her is her latest self help book, Just Say No.
The bookstore ...more

By Kelly May 18, 2019

What an enjoyable book! I can't wait to read more of the "Belles of St. Claire" books and see where the stories go!
After Paige's life implodes, she decides to chuck everything to move from Manhattan to small town Oregon, giving up a life as a publicist for an editor to become the owner of her own l ...more

By Rachel June 17, 2020

Okay, I'll admit it. I picked this one up because of the cover. But I stayed because of well drawn characters and an engaging and entertaining relationship. It is very much a "lights out" romance, and the occasionally broadly drawn characters and plot points land it squarely in Romantic Comedy land. ...more

By FNM August 18, 2019

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is a really cute contemporary romance with a really intriguing main character and more than a few laughs along the way. This is a story I easily found myself sinking into, both Paige and Luke were really l ...more

By Rachel July 03, 2019

The story of Paige, who has just bought a bookstore in the small town of St Clair following the breakdown of her relationship with her fiance.

After reading a self-help book, she is trying to say NO to people. But when she meets Luke, can she refuse him?

She wants the people in her new town to like an ...more

By Shar July 02, 2019

A cute, but slightly typical plot line of a girl running away from her problems only to find love in a small town. Also slightly reminiscent of Hallmark Channel movies, which I don't love. However, I liked the main character Paige, especially her tenacity and spunk. For the most part I enjoyed the r ...more

By Cindy October 03, 2019

Hurray to Amanda Ashby for writing a really pleasant and enjoyable read.

St. Clair sounds like a delight. I was happy to get to know Paige, who came to a small town with an open heart. I loved how she was open to becoming a part of the town and she made friends and got to find someone in the process ...more

By Tiffany May 12, 2020

This was a fun, light-hearted, little book that reminded me of watching a Hallmark movie. I considered it to be time well spent on a rainy day. I will be reading more about the Belles of St. Claire. ...more

By Sandie November 13, 2018

A sweet and quirky read Paige and her inner dialogue made me snicker. Luke is like most people- feeling guarded. Come along and discover the chemistry between Paige and Luke.
I received this book via Netgalley and this is my review. ...more

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3.91 avg rating
Amanda Ashby

About the author

Amanda Ashby

Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand, where she writes romance, young adult, and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths, and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture. She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Libraryʼs Stuff for the Teen Age. Because she’s mysterious, she also writes middle grade books under the name Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

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