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Note: the following guide contains spoilers, as well as references to critical plot points and the conclusion of Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Adams.
Practice Makes Perfect is a romance novel for adults, written by Sarah Adams and published in 2023. Sarah Adams is a popular TikTok creator and a bestselling author known for The Cheat Sheet and Practice Makes Perfect.
The story unfolds in a small town and is narrated from the perspectives of Annie Walker and Will Griffin. Annie, who manages a successful flower shop, seeks to break free from her perceived dullness by getting relationship advice from Will, the stern bodyguard of her brother’s fiancée, pop star Amelia Rae Rose.
In this guide we will go through the complete summary and ending explanation for Sarah’s latest novel, Practice Makes Perfect. Enjoy! ✨
Practice Makes Perfect Summary
Annie Walker, based in Rome, Kentucky, has always prioritized others over her own desires. Managing her flower shop in memory of her late mother, she feels a void in her life and believes that a perfect marriage will fill it. Determined to find a husband within a year, her first date turns awkward when she’s labeled boring. Will Griffin, the bodyguard for pop star Amelia Rae Rose (engaged to Annie’s brother), witnesses the incident.
Will, known for his global travels, is on a date himself but can’t shake off the impact of Annie’s encounter. Assigned to protect Amelia amid her impending marriage, Will struggles with his own feelings, shaped by a childhood in a dysfunctional family. Despite an intense attraction to Annie, Will is hesitant about getting involved due to his distrust in lasting love and marriage. The story unfolds as their paths intertwine, exploring the complexities of relationships.
During an Audrey Hepburn movie night with Amelia and Annie’s sisters, Emily and Madison banter about Will’s return. They playfully debate which sister suits him, dismissing the idea of “Angel Annie” dating him. Annie confides in Amelia about her awkward date, leading to a promise of dating improvement.
Unenthusiastic about a month in the small town, Will contemplates a future job in Washington, DC. Amelia tasks him with delivering a letter to Annie’s flower shop. Discovering Annie engrossed in a pirate novel, Will finds a letter proposing he become her dating coach. Initially hesitant, he agrees, wanting to borrow Annie’s historical romance book.
Annie keeps Will a secret from her siblings to avoid teasing. During grocery shopping, Will takes a genuine interest in her life, playfully calling her “Angel Annie.” Upon Annie’s dislike of the nickname, he vows not to use it again.
To avoid town gossip, Will plans to sneak Annie into his room at Mabel’s Inn. Their first lesson involves feigned confidence in the art of seduction. They discuss his global adventures, and he offers alternatives to a low-key marriage. Accompanying Amelia to a wedding venue, Will feels a twinge of jealousy when he spots Annie friendly with another man in the flower fields.
Annie and Will decide to have a date at a local diner, practicing their conversation skills. During the date, Will shares the meaningful story behind his flower tattoos, depicting the magnolia tree from his childhood hideaway. Annie expresses her interest in getting a tattoo, and Will assures her that he finds her attractive with or without one. However, Annie, thinking it’s just a practice flirtation, gets hurt and leaves.
Later in the day, Will seeks out Annie, apologizes, and reassures her that everything he said during their practice date was genuine. They share a kiss, but Will intentionally puts a limit on how far things go. A few days later, Will arranges for Annie to get the book tattoo she has always wanted on her shoulder.
Will has to leave town temporarily to accompany Amelia to LA for a TV interview. In the middle of the night, he visits Annie at her house, and they exchange numbers. Instead of leaving, he comfortably stays on her bed. Although they share a kiss, Annie puts a stop to any further intimacy, and they spend the night cuddling. Will starts pondering the possibility of a long-term relationship.
During Will’s absence, the news of his late-night visit reaches the entire town, leading to a petition demanding that Annie and Will end their relationship for her protection. Annie’s sisters confront her with jokes about their supposed incompatibility. Meanwhile, during Will’s time away, an attractive newcomer named Brandon Larsdale arrives in town and asks Annie on a date.
One Friday night at Hank’s, Annie joins her siblings, along with Amelia and Will, who returned from LA. Succumbing to her attraction, Annie kisses Will in the public bar. John, from a previous date, witnesses this, and Will mistakenly thinks Annie did it to make John jealous. After a night at Hank’s, Annie falls ill, and Will takes care of her. This leads to an intimate moment where Will shares his troubled past and his reservations about relationships. Despite spending another night with Annie, Will discovers her upcoming date with Brandon the next day. Trying to play it cool, Will admits he’ll be reassigned to a political job in DC after the month is over.
Brandon takes Annie to his nephew’s baseball game, where Amelia and Will, in hilariously bad disguises, show up. Annie accuses Will of sabotaging the date. After learning more about Brandon, Annie decides they’re better off as friends. Later that night, she texts Will, inviting him over. After another night together, Will seeks advice from his brother, while Annie, grappling with her feelings, decides to cry alone.
Will gets injured by an aggressive super-fan of Amelia’s while on duty, and Annie finds out days later. She shows up in his room, accidentally seeing him naked. After an intimate conversation about their growing feelings, they share a more intimate moment. The next day, on their way to breakfast, they interrupt a town meeting discussing their relationship. Annie defends their relationship in a heartfelt speech, only to discover everyone has voted to support it.
At Noah and Amelia’s rehearsal dinner, Annie worries about Will’s imminent departure. They spend another intimate night together, but she wakes up to find Will and her latest pirate romance novel gone. Will doesn’t attend the wedding, leaving Annie concerned. He surprises her as she leaves the venue, playing the role of a pirate, and drives her to his newly acquired house. Will reveals he quit his job, plans to stay in Rome, take community college classes to become a teacher, and proposes marriage. Annie, respecting his fears, suggests being his girlfriend instead. They decide to take their relationship slow and embark on adventures around the world.
Practice Makes Perfect Ending Explained
So, what happens at the end of Practice Makes Perfect?
The final chapters of the novel explain the ending of Practice Makes Perfect, with the story picking up the pace from Chapter 26
In the final section of the novel, Mabel plays a crucial role in influencing the love story between Will and Annie. Despite her nosy yet caring nature, Mabel offers support and guidance to both characters, helping them navigate their feelings for each other and the family challenges they face.
Annie reaches a breaking point, feeling unable to burden her siblings with her emotional struggles. She can’t turn to her grandmother due to her dementia. Mabel helps Annie realize that her previous belief (that she needs a husband) and the updated belief (that she needs to find herself) are both wrong. Annie discovers that she has known herself all along; the real issue is her tendency to isolate herself from her feelings and ignore her needs. With newfound confidence and a hint of self-righteous anger, Annie stands up to her siblings, expressing how their constant teasing affects her.
In Chapter 31, Mabel hugs Will after a phone call with his brother, symbolizing Will’s decision to heal from his challenging past with dysfunctional parents. The hug brings comfort, making Will feel like the little boy wishing for such warmth while climbing a magnolia tree. This gesture reflects how the town has become a home for Will, representing his gradual healing and a shift in his views on marriage.
In Chapter 36, Will using the word “sweet” to describe Annie during an intimate moment brings a new and positive meaning to the word. This marks a change for Annie, who starts accepting herself wholeheartedly. She no longer feels the need to prove herself by wearing a stunning dress to Amelia’s wedding but chooses to do so because it makes her happy and confident. At the wedding, Annie embraces the nickname “Sweet Annie,” having come to accept every part of herself, including the qualities associated with that name.
In the last chapters, Will points out a key element of good romance novels—the grand romantic gesture. This plot device often comes after a misunderstanding or breakup, allowing one partner to express deep love and commitment. Inspired by Annie’s love for steamy pirate romance novels, Will decides to roleplay a pirate and takes her to a house designed like a ship. He even wears an earring reminiscent of male love interests in her pirate novels. Despite Annie turning down Will’s marriage proposal, she completes her character growth, finding genuine happiness and fulfillment.
Approaching the final chapter before the Epilogue, where future Will and Annie are happily married, Adams introduces an unconventional happily-ever-after for contemporary romance novels. Will makes a grand proposal, but Annie chooses to decline and settle for dating instead. This narrative choice challenges the typical happily-ever-after stereotype while staying true to the characters’ unresolved traumas and fears.
Love isn’t a quick fix for all problems, and this recognition is vital. Annie acknowledges that Will isn’t prepared for marriage due to his lingering childhood trauma. She also understands that viewing marriage as a simple solution to her problems is unrealistic. Opting for a serious and long-term dating approach allows the couple to work through these challenges, setting the stage for a stronger and more enduring marriage in the future.
How did you like the ending of the novel? Happy reading! ❤️