This is a second chance romance, but if you love a Big Grovel, you won’t find it here.
Plot: our heroine is the kind of secret child of a mega star who has been effectively in hiding since her mom took her and they left LA for the solitude of a small town. For her 18th birthday, she goes on vacation to London, meets a super cute boy, and has a whirlwind romance. Which he ends by selling her story to a gossip magazine. The story picks up 14 years later when they meet again.
The romance is really the focus of this story but honestly, the real gem here is the relationship between Tate, her mom, and her grandmother. It’s not perfect, the way good relationships between women seem to feel the need to be done, but rather a group of women bound by love and mutual respect sufficient to overcome their differences in personality and ambitions. It reminded me a lot of the Villanueva women from Jane the Virgin.
The protagonists have quite a bit of chemistry. The dialogue is very natural and the secondary characters are treated with a lot of love given how little time they actually get on the page.
The progression of the romance itself felt really rushed, and while I sympathize with the reasons for Sam’s betrayal there is barely any time at all after we find out that Tate forgives him. And he doesn’t even apologize. So. I don’t know. I needed more than what the story gave me to buy into it.
The other oddity about this story is that at the centre is the love story between Sam’s grandparents, a Black man and a white woman in the 50s and the difficulties they faced. Only Sam is white and so is Tate and it felt a little odd to have a pretty straightforward romance between two white people play out in front of a backdrop of two people who overcame social stigma, prejudice, and actual danger to their lives to be with the person they cared about. I was expecting at least an attempt at creating a parallel there, but there wasn’t, which kind of made it feel like an attempt to incorporate the topic of race into the story without really engaging with it.