Happily Inc, Book 4
Heat Factor: One very detailed sex scene at about 30%. Everything else is closed door.
Character Chemistry: It’s fine.
Plot: Stuff happens, but I wouldn’t say there’s an overarching narrative arc.
Overall: Sweet but not all that impactful.
The way that our protagonists get together in this book is extremely gross and exploitative. Silver is a small business owner; the bank denied her a loan to expand her business. Drew’s family owns the bank in question; he decides that the solution to her problem is that he’ll buy into her business as a minority partner. Bonus: he’ll get to spend time with her, because he wants to be involved, not just the money man. From the get-go, there is therefore a definite power imbalance, because Silver feels like she can’t say no to the offer, despite her feelings about Drew.
Oh yeah. There’s a reason Drew couldn’t just ask this hot chick out on a date. They dated the summer after high school. They were both torn up by the break up at the end of the summer, but their lives were going in different directions, so neither of them tried all that hard to stay together. It’s been 12 years, and they’ve lived in the same small town for the majority of that time (Drew went to college and worked elsewhere, but he came back and has been back for a while). It’s unclear why Drew has decided to go for it with Silver NOW, but that’s what we’re doing. Hence his power move about her small business.
Despite the inauspicious beginning, the romance is quite sweet. Silver and Drew discover that they work well together – in business, and in bed. They have fights and misunderstandings, but are able to apologize to each other after the fact like mature adults (sometimes one or the other needs to storm off and cool down first, but not in an overly dramatic, unhealthy way).
There are some hiccups along the way, of course (a kid, a toxic mom, a royal wedding), but no one external plot device really drives the action. Instead the story really focuses in on both Silver and Drew overcoming the mechanisms they use to protect themselves when the going gets tough – Silver proactively steps away, and Drew is passive about it, and neither of these things makes for a healthy long-term relationship. They learn to fight for each other, and to stick through the tough times.
The problem with Not Quite Over You is that it’s busy. There’s a sweet kernel of love story here, but then there’s also all this extraneous stuff. The above-mentioned hiccups for one, some of which are presented as The One Big Conflict, but then are resolved immediately. In addition, there is tons of detail about what goes in to setting up for a wedding (Silver’s business is providing bar service at weddings); like, I don’t need to know that you spent a bunch of time blowing up balloons, or what trailer the blenders went into. Or all the details of whatever tacky theme wedding you’re working on right now, because I am judging you. And finally, all of the friends and relations who found true love in previous books, and will probably find true love in subsequent books, hang out and talk about their feelings and their true love a lot. I dig that both Silver and Drew have healthy friendships; modeling healthy relationships of all kinds is a great thing that romance novels can do! But in this case, I wasn’t invested in the secondary characters, so when they whined about things from other books, I was taken out of the story and moderately annoyed about it.
None of these problems is a deal-breaker, but combined they are enough that I can’t give a wholehearted recommendation. If you really really love second chance romances, then go for it. (I am meh on that particular trope, so I don’t know why I keep reading them – my taste in men has improved dramatically since high school, so still being hung up on my high school boyfriend is just so foreign to me.) Otherwise… well, there’s always more smut to explore.
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