Review: Holding Pattern by Jennifer W. Smith (2020)

Landing in Love, Book #2

Heat Factor: closed door

Character Chemistry: Instant tingles → “I haven’t felt this way in forever…or ever.”

Plot: Billionaire entrepreneur needs to chill out, lobsterman can help with that

Overall: Easy breezy

Up front: I’m not sure that the representation of Acute Stress Disorder was accurate in this book. I’m not an expert, but when I looked it up the explanation (from DSM-5) didn’t seem to exactly jive with what was going on with Veronica. I wasn’t bothered by this… but I do know it’s important to represent mental health (and other) issues correctly. 

I guess while I’m at it, other content warnings include death of spouse and unborn baby. Cole is a widower when the story begins.

We begin with Veronica visiting her newly completed vacation home on Cape Cod. She just had a 6000 sq. ft. (yeah, that’s right) home built because she’s a billionaire and that’s what billionaires do. On her way back to Boston, she stops for some excellent lobster rolls that she plans to eat on the road. (Which, what? How do you eat lobster rolls on the road?) And what do you know? She meets the lobsterman who provides the lobster for the delicious lobster rolls. And they have instant hots for each other. But Veronica’s a control freak and primarily lives in Boston, so pursuing this rugged guy is out of the question. Or is it?

When Veronica is instructed to rest for a week after being diagnosed with Acute Stress Disorder, she goes back to her house and Mr. Sexy Lobsterman. It turns out that sex with a nice man is relaxing (not that we actually get to know that because this is a very closed-door romance). And so we have a romance novel. 

I liked several things about this book. 

  1. After Veronica doesn’t tell Cole her real surname and it blows up, they agree to be honest with each other and they are. Conflicts come from a couple of other places. 
  2. Cole is on the water for long hours. Veronica works in Boston. At no point is there a conversation about either of them giving up their lifestyles for the other. This is a commuter relationship that works for these protagonists.
  3. I liked the way boundaries were discussed in this book. It’s not necessarily completely resolved, but it felt like the conversational “help me understand you” aspect of a relationship.
  4. Veronica’s the self-made billionaire and it totally doesn’t matter in their relationship because Cole’s busy running his lobstering business.
  5. There is a sad lack of billionaire heroines, so I can’t make sweeping comments like, “billionaire heroines are usually super alpha and unlikeable just like billionaire heroes,” but I want to. So I appreciated that Veronica was a BOSS in her everyday life, but in her relationship she enjoyed letting go of that a little bit. Or at least in the bedroom. It made me think of this Ali Wong segment about being dominated in bed. Which I think is accurate.

Okay, that said, there are some things to consider. 

  1. It ends abruptly. Big thing happens, then … wrap up. I’d have liked to see some discussion about how, now that they know this is long term, they’re going to handle their commuter relationship. It doesn’t really matter, because the important thing is they figured out that they want to be together, but I feel it would have been tidier. 
  2. Veronica says she’s got some patents, like this is a hard thing to do. There is a whole campus full of patent examiners at the US patent office, and all they do, all day every day is examine patent applications. If she’s the billionaire owner of a billion-dollar corporation, she’s got more than some patents. She’s probably got a dedicated IP attorney who manages her company’s portfolio. I’m familiar with this field, so it’s a nitpick on my part. But, like, just search for how many patents Steve Jobs has. It’s not hard. 
  3. Thinking back, I’m not super clear about why these protagonists were invested in this relationship other than “I haven’t felt this way since…” ever. I’m okay with insta-lust as a reason for being together, but I’m not sure there was enough on-page development to convince me why they’d fight so hard at some points for this relationship. 
  4. There were several plot points that weren’t fully fleshed out or addressed by the time the story wrapped up. It didn’t really detract from the reading but it contributed to a niggling something that prevented me from enjoying this book more.

For all these protagonists’ past tragedies and demanding jobs, this is a pretty fluffy read. I did not have particularly high highs or low lows with this one. There was no desire to throw my phone while reading. I will say I’m pretty over the whole: “I’m so dedicated to my job that I really can’t consider any sort of anything with another human right now because DISTRACTIONS.” But I am halfway through my 2020 reading goal and we’re only three months in, so this might be a too-much-smut issue for me that’s not a problem for you.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon

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