Book Title: Stranded In Love
Author: Victoria Grant
Genre: Contemporary romance
Two strangers find themselves stranded and at the mercy of the whims of Mother Nature in this offering by Victoria Grant. The first novel in the Calderone series, it tells the story of Laney Calderone who, by anyone’s standards, is having one heck of a bad day.
The storm blowing over Toronto is no match for the perfect storm that is Laney’s current situation. Jilted by her fiancé after she told him that she was pregnant with their child, she now finds herself with a car that won’t start in the middle of the worst weather conditions in recent history.
Coming to her rescue is Tyler Hammond, Good Samaritan extraordinaire and altogether the epitome of tall, dark, and mysterious. A clash of wills between these two headstrong characters ensue as they find themselves having to spend time with and rely on each other as the storm continues to rage through the city. The last thing either of them want, or expect, is to fall in love.
This book has nothing much to offer in terms of original ideas; in fact, the main plot is one that has been done millions of times before within the romance novel genre. However, what the author did very well is to offer a fresh take on a story we’ve all heard before, such that it doesn’t feel dated or recycled.
Victoria Grant has a real knack for dialogue. Readers will enjoy the banter, the exchange, and arguments-that-are-really-just-foreplay between Laney and Tyler because it feels natural and organic.
The will-they-won’t-they aspect of their relationship calls to mind all the highs and lows that comes with falling in love: the giddiness you feel when the object of your affection is present, the thrill of the chase, and the despair that accompanies the uncertainty of whether or not you are loved in return.
The dynamics of the Calderone family helped to round out the story and served as a good introduction to the continuation of the series. Laney’s brothers were interesting enough in this book for readers to be intrigued about their own individual stories in later books.
However, it felt like the author gave in to the temptation to use the caricature of the strict, overbearing, and unreasonable mother as well as the villainous ex-fiancé. That, and some of the plot devices gave the novel a contrived and overly melodramatic tone toward the middle that made the story lose much of its momentum.
The book would have made more of an impact if it stuck to its original theme rather than inserting random manufactured conflicts just to move the narrative forward to its inevitable climax. Where the book’s true magic shines through is in the simple moments that show two people simply falling in love despite the challenges they face.
Overall, romance readers will enjoy this funny, mostly light-hearted, fare, perfect for curling up with hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night. This is a thoroughly modern love story that manages to encompass and pay homage to everything readers love about the genre: from meet-cutes to snowball fights to slow dancing by candlelight. It is a reminder to this mostly cynical generation that life–and love–is like a dance: perfectly enjoyable even if you’re on your own, but somehow taking on a different level of meaning when shared with someone else.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Editorial Review written by the Book Review Directory Production Team. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.