Rowan McKinnon doesn’t believe in love. With a botany PhD, two best friends who embrace her social quirkiness, and some occasional no-strings sex, she has everything she needs. But she hides deep wounds from the past—from a negligent mother, and a fiancé who treated her like a pawn in a game. When an academic setback leads Rowan to take on the restoration of an abandoned vineyard, she relishes the opportunity to restore the grapes to their former glory.
She does not expect to meet a man like Harrison Brady.
An obstetrician profoundly struggling after losing a patient, Harry no longer believes he is capable of keeping people safe. Reeling, Harry leaves Los Angeles to emotionally recover at his parents’ new vineyard in Pennsylvania.
He does not expect to meet a woman like Rowan McKinnon.
As their combative banter gives way to a simmering tension, sunlight begins to crack through the darkness smothering Harry’s soul. He’s compelled to explore the undeniable pull between them. And after a lifetime of protecting herself from feeling anything, for anyone, Rowan tries to keep things casual.
But even she can’t ignore their explosive connection. [From Goodreads]
First of all, let’s hear it for all the romances featuring ladies in STEM being released recently!! I am SO for this trend. I work in an engineering library, so I love seeing this representation in romances. The botany and science-y aspects were some of my favorite parts of this book. I always think the inclusion of these subjects leads to the most beautiful descriptive imagery, and Jen Devon does not disappoint here.
My actual favorite aspect of this romance, though, was the found family and every adorable moment Rowan was able to receive from the Bradys. These moments filled with dialogue that show off every individual family member’s personality are where Devon really shined in her writing. Family is the most essential thing in my life, found and not, so when a writer does a good job of writing this subject, it can make me very emotional. This book succeeded in doing just that.
Of course, the romance was also so tender and sweet and spicy all at the same time. The dialogue between Rowan and Harry felt so real. Their frustrations, wants, and needs all felt very true to a couple who are not really a couple.
I said already that the dialogue was the strongest part of this novel, so parts where Devon resorted to telling about the passing of time instead of showing it fell flat to me. Because of this, the pacing felt off, like there were points in the relationship that were skipped over where I would much rather had seen the development. I wanted one more moment in the beginning of the story to really solidify Rowan and Harry’s connection.
The relationship and the ending made up for this, however, and I ended up being very pleasantly surprised overall with this novel. If you’re a romance reader, this new release should definitely be on your list to pick up.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.