Genre fiction lover: Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
This is exactly the sort of contemporary romance I like. It features two interesting protagonists who have personalities and pasts that feel full and 3-dimensional.
There is very little plot-plot to this story, Not a lot actually happens, except for two people negotiating how to work themselves into a trusting relationship. It is a strongly character driven book, which is always my favorite kind.
Part of what makes this so successful for me, are the circumstances the author gave the characters. Natalie and Patrick (known as Paddy) knew each other for two intense weeks years ago when Natalie was just a seventeen year old wild child and Paddy was just starting out as the lead singer in rock band with his brothers.
Now years later, Natalie is a librarian in Paddy's hometown. She is older and wiser and the wild-child is the thing of the past. As the daughter of an addict whose addictions still rule him, Natalie had a tumultuous upbringing. Any relationships she forms are all informed by her experiences as a child growing up in that chaotic, often dangerous environment. To that end, when she spots Patrick again she pretends not to remember him, trusting that now that he is a bona fide rock star he would not have remembered her either.
I loved the Natalie that we meet at the start of the book. The author did a great job of showing a woman who had worked hard to work through her various issues, none of which were of her own making, really. She could have made Natalie seem self-righteous or rigid, but she didn't. She made Natalie funny and secure and very self aware. I enjoyed learning about the family Natalie made for herself with her college friends and I loved her relationship she had with her best friend, Tuesday.
Meanwhile Patrick was also a great character. He is my favorite kind of beta hero. He is still strong and sexy, but not overwhelming or overbearing like so many alpha heros are. He makes his interest in Natalie felt right from the beginning. Yes, he immediately remembered her even all these years (and countless women & groupies later). He does a good old-fashioned wooing and I really enjoyed that aspect of the story.
Normally I am not a fan of books that feature "famous" heroes/heroines. On a meta level that scenario often times doesn't work for me because being an inveterate pop culture follower I am very cynical about fame, so i can't read these books without letting my real-world cynicism invade. But I thought the author made it work. One the one hand we got to see the craziness of being an actual famous rock & roll band, with the fans and groupies. And Patrick's account of his brother's Ezra's descent into addiction was harrowing. But on the other, I thought the author humanized the characters to the extent that the fame didn't fell threatening to my sense of the couple's eventual HEA. I especially liked the scenes and snippets we get of the brothers working on their next album. If sounded like work.
This is the first book in a series and I must say I have been successfully sequel baited. the next book is Tuesday and Ezra's story and holy cow! I can't wait. For two supporting characters who only actually spent a few pages here and there in each other's company, their chemistry was intense. Also I like the idea of these two dark people who are a little broken together.
Really good book.