If you’re in any way family with my reading habits you’ll have seen a lot of familiar names on yesterday’s Week in Books post. This made picking a BotW tricky, because I liked a lot of books – but not a lot of the ones by people who I haven’t reviewed before. Or at least not enough to be able to pick the without feeling like I was bigging them up more than I actually liked them. The Alyssa Cole that I finished on Monday was already last week’s pick – so I couldn’t chose A Hope Divided (even though I liked it a lot) because even though I do repeat authors, three of her books in less than a month would be too much even for me! The Beverly Jenkins was good too – but she was my BotW pick two weeks ago. I have finished the Lucy Parker now – but in the early hours of Tuesday so it would be cheating and that’s not out until next week anyway. I loved the Mary McCartney photographs of Twelfth Night – but that’s because that production was the best thing that I’ve ever seen on stage and it brought back wonderful memories and anyway there aren’t enough words in that for it to count as a Book of the Week. And so that leads us to Jill Shalvis. Who of course has featured before – but not this calendar year so that’s something. And I did love this latest trio of Lucky Harbor books that I’ve read (one afer the other practically in less than seven days) so it’s hardly a hardship. So which to pick?
He’s So Fine’s heroine is prickly Olivia, who owns a vintage shop and lives next door to the heroine of the previous book, and who was an intriguing and enigmatic presence in that. And when we get to know her, we discover that she’s got a big secret that she’s protecting – who she really really is. In keeping with my spoiler free policy, I’m not going to tell you the details of Olivia’s backstory – but believe me, it’s good. This trilogy has the owners of a charter boat company for the heroes – this is Cole the boat captain, the first one was Sam the boat builder, and the next one (One In A Million) is Tanner, the deep sea diver.And Cole is a great character – he’s dashing and handsome and caring, but he also sees life in very black and white terms. On top of that, his last relationship ended badly a couple of years ago and he hasn’t really recovered or moved on – except to decide that love isn’t really worth it. Olivia doesn’t exactly have a great track record with relationships, so their mutually beneficial relationship seems ideal, to start with at least.
I liked this a lot but I had two quibbles. The first was that I wanted Olivia to come clean to Cole earlier, but that’s fairly usual with me and romances – I want people to sort out misunderstandings as soon as possible and not lie to each other. But that’s because I don’t like conflict and secrets in real life – I know that without the conflict there’d be no book a lot of the time! The other was that I wanted a bit more resolution. And I know I say that a lot too – but this one is more than just me wanting to see a bit more of their happily ever after, because the book comes to a big screeching, grinding halt and there are still somethings that I thought needed resolving or at least talking through. And having read the next book now too, I know that you don’t get any more of Cole and Olivia in that either. But this is minor stuff. The romance is swoonworthy, the characters well matched and Lucky Harbor is a great place to spend time. And when read as part of the trilogy, its all very satisfying indeed. And after a run of secret baby/child stories, this is refreshingly pregnancy aggro free – if that’s a thing you look for in romance (I do).
My copy of He’s So Fine came from The Works – where they had all three and all in their 3 for £5 offer. It was a little while ago now, but they still had a few Shalvises (Shalvii?) last time I was in there the other week. It’s also available on Kindle and Kobo (£3.99 atow) or in an omnibus edition on Kindle and Kobo with the other two in the set for £6.99. And if you haven’t read any Lucky Harbor before, the first three book omnibus is £3.99 at the moment on Kindle and Kobo – which is definitely worth a look.