I had decided a couple weeks ago that my New Years Day plan was to hang out in comfy clothes while reading and reviewing a book. I have managed to achieve that goal, and all before dinner time! What I didn’t originally know was that with the Romance Writers of America deciding to implode over Christmas week I would be frontloading a lot of Romance books by authors who were out on the frontlines (Kate Clayborn) and/or with new works coming out (her latest Love Lettering published 12/31) because I have a problem with authority figures cheapening the good work being done in genre writing.
So, I decided to try Clayborn’s Beginner’s Luck based on emmalita’s recommendation since it sounded up my alley and just the kind of romance I was in the mood for (while Love Lettering sounds great and I’m sure I’ll get there it wasn’t what I was up for right now). Beginner’s Luck is part of a trilogy which tracks the lives of three friends after they win the lottery after impulsively deciding to buy a ticket one drunken night after sharing their hopes for the winnings. Beginner’s Luck focuses on Kit who wanted a house, but what she desperately wanted was home.
In the way of romance novels Kit meets Ben when he comes to recruit her for a job out of state. Their would be meet cute goes disastrously as Ben’s head isn’t in the game – he’s in town taking care of his injured father after an accident – and he’s doing this as a favor to his partner. From the very beginning these two are attracted to each other, but are operating at cross-purposes. Clayborn sets up a long simmer on this one as each deals with what they’re experiencing before they cross the line from acquaintances to something more. But even when that happens, it is still a tangle of expectations and misunderstandings.
While there was something about Clayborn’s mechanics that didn’t quite sit right with me (it’s the tense/tone with the narration and I can’t explain it, it just felt off) this was still an incredibly enjoyable read. Clayborn builds these characters with depth and layers, hinting at things and slowly building to reveals as to why each is reacting the way that they are and we as he reader get to watch them get it right, and also get it so very wrong. What I appreciated most about Beginner’s Luck is that Clayborn didn’t sit back on genre shorthand, she unpacked how that shorthand isn’t always healthy depending on the character motivations and built in the time and space for honest to goodness growth. The next two books focus on Kit’s best friends Greer and Zoe and Zoe’s book is already requested from my library, but I’m secretly hoping we see more of the background characters from this one in those because I LOVE Ben’s dad.