Kimani, $6.50, ISBN 978-0-373-86421-8
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Dr Olivia Gray is a professor in history who has a passion for genealogy, and her latest research brings her to Sag Harbor, another one of those lovely rustic places where everyone is friendly, so friendly that they are determined that you assimilate into their society and never leave. Connor Lawson is the architect who is currently overseeing the renovation of the local B&B. She isn’t looking for love, and neither is he, but they are both definitely looking, if you know what I mean. And, that’s basically the plot of My Love at Last.
No, don’t groan, this simplicity is actually a great thing where this one is concerned – it is all about the love, without distractions in the form of dead bodies, crazy ex-girlfriends, and other tired drama. And the whole thing works.
Perhaps it’s because the bar has been set so low when it comes to romance heroines, but when I realize that Olivia feels that it is normal to be attracted to be hot guy like Connor, and it is entirely possible for her to entertain the idea of an affair with him without flailing into guilt and other weird nonsense, I feel as if the author had just served me a tall glass of water. She thinks she wants to focus on her career first before she settles down, while he isn’t sure that love and he get along, but these two get together and fall in love in a manner that feels real, believable, and natural.
My Love at Last has many common tropes – cheerleading BFFs, et cetera – but it is a textbook example of how to do these tropes in a manner that still remains entertaining no matter how familiar those tropes can be. This is because these elements are made into organic, real parts of the story. The cheerleading BFFs, for example, feel like real friends rather than just props created by the author to drive home the rightness of the romance, and it helps that these friends are not blindly cheering the heroine one. One actually tells the heroine to break the relationship off if it is going to cause Olivia so much hurt. So these BFFs feel like real BFFs, thus the trope works. It’s the same with other tropes – their presence makes the story feel more complete, rather than mere ticks on a checklist. When Olivia’s ex shows up and she and Connor argue as a result, for example, the scene feels necessary, to get them to work out their feelings. I never get the impression that is one scene slapped onto the story just to create some conflict.
Thus, when Connor finally tells Olivia that he loves her, I sigh – that scene feels like a culmination of a journey well worth taking every step of the way.
This is one well-written frills-free romance worth a look if you are looking for uncomplicated love stories, in which feelings come first, everything else second.