I saw this one recommended on Dear Author some time last year. The fact is was written by a New Zealander and set it New Zealand attracted me, as did the librarian/ex-rock star pairing. All the same, I never got around to reading it.
I don’t remember what made me decide to request it just before Christmas, but I did and it turned up at the library for me. Again, I didn’t get around to reading it. I was going to take it back, but something made me renew it instead.
So on Sunday, I finally got around to starting it. And I sat there, ignoring my poor, home-on-holidays, child and read through to the end.
This is a very fun read. I enjoyed the local setting and both main characters. I found Rachel and her backstory to be strong and her responses both to her past and Devin to be pretty realistic. I’m not so sure about Devin, but he was such a fun character that I didn’t care how realistic the idea of an ex-rock star at Auckland University was.
The sub-plot with Mark, and both Rachel’s reaction to her and later, his to her revelation, held true. However, I did feel that he started to take over the story towards the end and while he was the catalyst that brought Rachel and Devin back together, it felt a little bit like he was getting in the way.
There were some lovely little sub-plots that didn’t have the opportunity to be fleshed out as much as I might have liked because of the length of the work. That’s actually high praise rather than a criticism as Karina Bliss manages to make such points an enjoyable part of the story, despite the restricted word count. I’m especially thinking of Devin’s mother’s shoes under the bed and the introduction of Matthew; at single title length they could have been given full secondary status, but here’s there’s not room. I was delighted by them and their presence in the story all the same.
I’m not sure how many luxury private planes with the capability to fly of New Zealand to LA are ever on the ground at Auckland airport (but I don’t live in those kinds of circles, so what am I to say what the reality is) but I was perfectly happy to let that slide as part of the story.
I would have liked a slightly more solid ending; somehow it felt a bit wishy-washy, even though it fitted the characters very well. I think that’s very much a case of “it’s me, not you” as I don’t even know how I’d have liked it done differently, as as a bit more time passes since I finished the book, the happier I am with the ending.
I would like to know how things turned out with Zander in the long run, but that’s a minor plot point and doesn’t really need further clarification. It’s just that the completist in me wants to know.
I’d be perfectly willing to read Karina Bliss again. And to recommend this to anyone wanting a pleasant romance with some mild angst. A very good read.