The entire story is told from Ryan’s (the hero’s) point of view. This would be fine if the hero was super interesting. I mean, Emma Chase and Lauren Blakely have written some AWESOME books from the male POV. But sadly, I’ve had dishwater in my sink that was more interesting than Ryan. He’s a typical rich white dude. He’s not a jerk, but he’s been pampered his whole life, and he comes complete with rich-drunk-mommy and horrible-cheating-daddy-who-never-really-loved me daddy issues. Ryan’s entire backstory is like a checklist for every rich white dude you’ve ever read about or seen on TV. Boooooorrrrrrriiiiiiinnnnnggggg…
Allee, the heroine, is (I think) supposed to be “refreshingly blunt” and spunky. What she is, in actuality, is a bossy biotch. She first meets the hero when he approaches her as a museum visitor. She’s a tour guide. So, she’s at work, and when he asks her a polite, professional question, she insults his job, his employer, and makes fun of him for obviously having money. Then she spends the rest of the book smirking, bossing him around, jerking him around, and keeping secrets from him. What a gal.
Cartoonish secondary characters
From Ryan’s parents, to Ryan’s ex, Charlotte, to the best-friend-who-thinks-with-his-dick sidekick, Duffy, the secondary characters in this book are so one-dimensional and cliche that they’re cartoonish. Not that Ryan and Allee are much better, but still, good secondary characters can elevate a good book to a great book. The secondary characters here took this book from crappy to crappier (in my opinion).
I won’t give away the ending. I will tell you that this is NOT a romance. Romances can be counted on for HEA endings. This ending is NOT that. It’s not even a HFN. (It’s not a cliffhanger, either, if that’s what you’re thinking) I wasn’t particularly invested in the story by the end because I hated both lead characters, but if I’d been enjoying the story up until that point, I would have been PISSED at that ending. Don’t call your book a romance if you can’t promise a HEA or a HFN ending. You’re lying to yourself (and your readers) if you think your book is a romance and there’s no happy ending. To the author I would suggest re-classifying the book as Women’s Fiction.
Odds and ends
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
This book is the overlord of Stigma City. There’s no amount of rehab that can fix this. I’m offended on behalf of all ACTUAL romance books.
Other reading suggestions
For great stories told from the male POV, try Tangled by Emma Chase and Mister O by Lauren Blakely.