Title: Write to Love
Author: Victoria Grant
Genre: Contemporary Romance
This is a short, enjoyable tale of aspiring-bestseller meets dashingly-handsome fan, with humor and sparks flying. Though part of a series, it tells the stand-alone tale of Casey Dunlop, a writer on her last chance at literary success. She’s landed an agent and publisher and is off to her first book signing in Toronto, determined to make it work.
But after the first, average day, she goes to a local grocery store and runs into Noel Calderone, the youngest son of a rich and powerful family. He’s dated many girls casually, and none have ever captured his heart, but then, none of them have had Casey’s romantically alluring purple eyes.
The next day, he shows up at the bookstore with a rose, the very squash they’d both claimed the day before, and an invitation to dinner. Casey longs to accept—after all, he’s handsome, polite, and a huge fan of hers—but she’s wearing a sweater that gives her a rash and she just came off a bad relationship. She’s not sure she’s ready to rush into anything, not after itching her back into angry red blotches.
But Noel isn’t the kind of man Casey wants to refuse altogether, so they reschedule their date for the next night, his father’s sixtieth birthday party. She gets to meet his parents, his brothers, and his married-and-pregnant sister amid grandeur, elegance, and professional photographers.
What really adds to the pressure, though, is the fact that his mother doesn’t like Casey. She isn’t sure whether Mrs. Calderone is afraid of losing her “little boy” or just doesn’t think Casey’s good enough, but either way, her cutting remarks and lack of respect make Casey think about ditching Noel, despite his blue eyes and “James Bond” good looks.
The narration let dialogue lead the way, which is fairly typical for the romance genre, but there were times one could wish for a little more “showing,” as the dialogue was what told us that Noel was a playboy rather than having the narration show us how changed he became around Casey. And there were moments where characters’ reactions felt contrived, missing the key thought processes or clues that would make their responses natural and believable.
At times, it felt like the story was written as writers’ “wishful thinking” rather than anything realistic. Casey spent years working on her novels, and she’s upset because her inheritance is running out, which means she might finally have to get a full-time job to pay the bills, if writing doesn’t pay off soon. It’s a legitimate worry, but it made her seem somewhat out of touch, as most writers have to juggle work and writing at the same time until they “make it big.”
The story is sweet and spicy without being all about the sex, though there’s no denying the chemistry between Noel and Casey. Strong characterization and a rich vein of humor punctuate this story, and readers who love a good tale of “Will they end up together?” will enjoy Write to Love.
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