Review: Promising Love by Sara Ohlin (2021)

Rescue Me, Book #3

Heat Factor: It’s pretty steamy. There’s a lot of whoopie going on.

Character Chemistry: They start out, without exaggeration, from the first page.

Plot: Lachlan has been in love with Ruby since he was 12—and when she finally makes a move, he jumps to conclusions while also dealing with shady happenings in the neighborhood.

Overall: I don’t think it’s a grumpy/sunshine, and I am gobsmacked to say that I think I don’t like flowery talk in my romance novels?

So the basic rundown of this book is pretty straightforward—Lachlan and Ruby have been dancing around starting something for a really long time, and Ruby finally takes the initiative with great results. However. Lachlan overhears something and concludes that Ruby is having threesomes with two guy friends who are actually gay. This is not true, obviously. If it were true, I would have had to pry this book out of Holly’s hands with a crowbar.

Instead, Lachlan ices Ruby out for a few chapters while she seethes and is very offended but doesn’t clear anything up herself. This is short-lived, however, because her friends throw them together at her guy friends’ wedding, and from then on there’s very little issue with Ruby and Lachlan. On the other hand, Lachlan’s bar does get broken into and his alcoholic dad stirs up a little trouble.

Here’s the thing about this book: it’s listed as a grumpy/sunshine, (and I LOVE grumpy/sunshine), but I posit that it is not one. To clarify; I don’t think it’s a grumpy/sunshine as it stands on its own. Being part of a series, I can’t really see what comes before and it’s certainly possible that if I had read it as part of a much bigger picture I’d have concluded differently. One of the big building blocks of tension in a grumpy/sunshine is the negotiation of a relationship between two people who have wildly different ways of moving through life–one grumpy, one full of sunshine. In this book, Lachlan starts the book making sweet, sexy promises to Ruby, and that flowery romance continues throughout the book. He also has open and honest conversations with Ruby’s father and other people in his life. In short, if you ignore the comments peppered throughout the book about how he’s very stoic and grumpy, there’s no evidence that supports Lachlan IS actually grumpy. There’s a brief period where he’s angry and defensive but I’d consider that to be a temporary state and not a personality type. And there’s no way Ruby is a contender for the grumpy one—she’s very clearly the life of the party.

Circling back to how the book starts, it’s also very abrupt. I don’t think that relationships in romance novels have to start from scratch every time (obviously, or we wouldn’t have second chance or surprise baby books), but because the miscommunication feels very short lived and minor, it ends up feeling like we’re opening the book in the middle of the plot instead of watching things develop slowly. There isn’t enough time between the initial sparks and the budding relationship. 

It turns out I do not like reading an excessive amount of flowery praise, but I suspect this will be a huge selling point for a lot of readers. If you like a hero who is extremely capable and likes to spoil and pamper his partner, someone who showers his heroine with praise and admiration—that’s Lachlan. I think it’s just that for me, Lachlan didn’t tease the reader enough before he started dropping that sweetness. I want him to hide it grumpily and then grudgingly offer bits here and there before utterly sweeping me off my FEET with that fluttery goodness, for Pete’s sake. But conversely, a huge part of his character revolves around this lifetime of love he’s had for Ruby, so it does technically explain why he just starts off strong and stays that way.

I will say that I felt like this book may have been an important bridge for the world the author is building in this series. I do really like this author’s writing style and emotional depth a great deal, and this book was not an exception there. In fact, based solely on those factors (plus the tertiary characters), I would absolutely go back and give the series a proper try all the way through just to see if I’m correct on that.

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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