I can’t recall when I picked up this book, but reading the description as a refresher told me why I would have clicked a download link. Chastity O’Neill has grown up in a family of strong men, her father and four brothers all volunteer firefighters. (And really, any wife/mother in that situation is just as tough, so I’m not neglecting their mother. Betty O’Neill is a firecracker.) But with three out of four brothers all married with children, when she moves back home for a journalist gig, the family is waiting. Of course, also still in her hometown is her long time good friend and honorary member of the family, Trevor Meade…who, of course, is Chastity’s first love.
It’s really a classic romance plot. In a desperate attempt to be over Trevor, who Chas is convinces will always just see her as “one of the guys” after their failed attempt at romance in college, Chastity starts looking for someone to fall in love with. Not just anyone, thought–after he most recent lackluster relationship broke apart, Chas has decided she’s looking for only the best. No one less will do.
Excluding Trevor, of course. That ship sailed. She needs to get over him. Of course. That’s what she’s doing. Really.
Even if there isn’t anything really surprising in the book, it’s still a very enjoyable journey. Chastity’s brothers are a riot (though I could smack someone over them being named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John because REALLY?!) and all the extended family is painfully realistic. (Though I’m still trying to figure out what a Latin head wiggle is.) Chas’ job at the newspaper is nice and fairly pastoral, though not particularly interesting. It looks like something thrown in to ensure Chas had something to do aside from her romantic exploits–and it feels like it, too. I understand the necessity of other plots; it’s been an issue of mine in my own writing as well. I just wish something more could have been done. The side plot with Lucia is weak and inexplicable–I have no clue why it’s there–and outside of that, the paper does little.
On the other hand, the plot with Ryan Darling, MD was nicely done. As is necessary in these kinds of stories, I didn’t really like Ryan from the outset (I mean, who doesn’t know who Wendy Darling is?) and as his storyline continued I grew more and more irritated with him. I wish we’d seen a few more potentials before fixating on Ryan, but I suppose it wasn’t necessary. After all, we see enough of that with Betty. Despite the end, that whole arc breaks my heart into bitty shards. I’m with Chastity on that one. Ugh. My heart hurts.
The writing is a little odd. It very much sounds sometimes like an early teenager trying to write an adult. I’m not much younger that Chas, and I can’t imagine anyone my age using the word “bleeping” in a manner that wasn’t ironic. Possibly if the family was highly religion–and it is stressed that they’re Irish, so it’s possible–but there is no indication of this at all aside from her brothers’ names, so she just ends up sounding juvenile. also, on a smaller note, the obsession with everyone’s height got real old real fast. I get it. You’re a six foot tall woman who wants a taller man. Siddown. (Excuse me. Five eleven and three-quarters. How could I have forgotten.)
If I’m honest, this is a 3.5, but since I did really like the story (and I love Trevor) I’m perfectly happy rounding that up for Goodreads purposes. As the descriptions say, it’s an HEA with no cliffhangers. Good summer read.
Rating: **** (Recommended)