Suddenly One Summerby Julie James
~ Goodreads ~
Rating: 4.0 Stars
**This book is a stand-alone but takes place in Julie James' FBI/U.S. Attorney world with brief glimpses of other characters from that series. You do not need to read the series to read this book, but I would recommend it if only because they are similarly excellently enjoyable.
Another Julie James contemporary further cements my love for her and her characters (as well as further proves that I CAN like Contemporary Romances, after all). Witty and charming is the typical Julie James formula for characters and narration, with intelligent, mature, work-oriented people in a feel-good love story. And that is exactly one of the main reasons why I loved Julie James and why I continue to love her.
Despite the fact that her books are continually covering more formulaic Romances with the typical "characters-with-their-own-past-issues-that-keep-them-from-wanting-committed-relationships" device until they just happen to fall for the right person (preferably during this story line), it doesn't keep her books from being insightful nor does it keep her characters from being delights to follow.
Most importantly, I always have a smile on my face and good chuckle here and there the entire time I'm reading anything by Julie James.
The Story in Brief:
Victoria Slade is a divorce lawyer who has seen her fair share of broken marriages to put her off the whole commitment train for good. Coupled with her own childhood issues that ultimately lead to her needing to clear her sudden onset of panic attacks with a therapist, her first priority is definitely not looking for Mr. Right.
But then she moves in right next door to sexy and charming Ford Dixon (!!!) and her life begins to spin slightly out of her own control. When Ford approaches her to help him find the man who got his little sister pregnant in order to discuss child support, the two of them start spending way too much time together to ignore that spark that had been there since the first night they set eyes on each other. Even more, a new feeling beyond physical attractiveness is starting to settle in that makes both Victoria and Ford more than nervous about where their relationship-non-relationship is heading.
Especially with the both of them having so many commitment issues to deal with.
The romance isn't the most unique story line in the world, what with both Ford and Victoria having their own fair share of problems stemming from childhood grievances to resolve. But I loved that Victoria took a new approach to dealing with her issues by facing them head on, and with a great therapist nonetheless (Dr. Metzel is all sorts of awesome!), rather than just being avoid-y about them. I thought that was a nice new spin and that's one of the reasons I ultimately started warming up to her. Surprisingly, I found her therapy sessions to be some of my favorite parts of the book; Victoria isn't the typical antagonistic patient and Dr. Metzel wasn't stereotyped into "the enemy shrink who tries to shape everything into issues that don't really exist".
Those scenes were very fun to read.
Anyway, due to some lack of communication that lead to uncalled for first impression judgments about Ford, I was worried that I'd get annoyed with Victoria before the book even got started.
I mean, I've already expressed that I have a biased love for Ford since the days of Love Irresistibly and wasn't about to be happy about her blowing him off as just another heartless, womanizing asshole after witnessing half-snippets of scenes she found disagreeable and automatically casting judgement without knowing the whole story. The part where Ford throws her assumptions back into her face by mockingly making assumptions about her personality and her life using half-facts he knew about her... That was a priceless scene and I'm glad he did it.
Because I didn't like the negative connotation that came to her mind about Ford's casual relationships. I mean, welcome to modern times. But mainly I didn't like that she automatically created her own "History of Ford Dixon" without even knowing who he is or bothering to get his side of the story first--not that he even owed her a side of his story.
But she slowly warmed up to me and when she and Ford ultimately became partners in crime as well as friendly, it was very nice to witness their fun banter and cute side quips. At least she's mature enough to admit that she'd been wrong rather than continually being stubborn about her own opinions. She doesn't even try to be overly defensive of her assumptions and the two of them resolve their conflict like adults.
It's nice to see two people resolving their conflicts like adults without dropping unnecessary angst into their non-relationship at every turn. It's nice to see two people know how to communicate properly and listen to each other and accept reasonable explanations rather than continue to be stubborn about pre-formed judgments.
I never cease loving a great Julie James character. Even all the side characters are delightful and you find yourself looking at each one of them wondering who will be next in line for a chance at main love story by Julie James. (Will it be the briefly introduced investigative reporter working with Ford, Samantha Pearson? Or maybe even his sister, Nicole? What about one of Victoria's two best friends, Rachel or Audrey? Or maybe we'll see the good-looking, ripped, and muscular Peter Sutter Number Eleven somehow?)
Anyway, it was quite the delight to see Brooke in all her best friend glory, but I'm slightly miffed that we only got the tip of her sassy, snarkiness... though to be fair, this isn't her book and there was no interaction with Cade so I may just have to content myself with rereading Love Irresistibly at some point in the near future while waiting for the next Julie James book--that books still remains my favorite of the Julie James novels and Brooke and Cade are still my favorite Julie James couple.
Of course, Ford and Victoria are coming very close as a very close runner-up to second favorite. The jokes in this book were so much more fun than I had found in Julie James' previous book, It Happened One Wedding, even if they seem on par with Love Irresistibly.
This review was originally posted at Ani's Book Abyss / BookLikes in June 2015.