Monday, August 10, 2020

REVIEW: Ready to Fall (book) by Daisy Prescott

Ready to Fall is a contemporary romance. I bought my copy brand new from the author's table at Book Bonanza 2019.


John Day is understandably concerned when he hears the smoke detector going off in his neighbor's house - as far as he knows, Maggie's in Portland. He heads over to check things out and is surprised to find a skittish brunette named Diane trying to light a fire in Maggie's fireplace. It turns out that Diane is going through an ugly divorce, and a mutual friend helped her arrange to stay at Maggie's place while she's gone. Diane's a city girl, but spending time on this quiet little island might be a good way for her to figure out what she wants to do with herself after her divorce.

Although she intrigues him, John initially figures he'll steer clear of Diane. He's got enough on his plate as it is, what with his own messy relationship with Kelly, an old high school crush of his who barely knew he existed back then but who likes him a lot more now. Unfortunately, although Kelly swore she was in the process of getting divorced, it's now looking like she might be getting cold feet. 

John isn't interested in risking his heart again, and neither is Diane, but they do get along pretty well. Surely they can be friends, and maybe flirt a bit but still stick to a "no sex" rule. Right.

This book was part of my Book Bonanza 2019 haul. Daisy Prescott's table was one of the first ones I visited - if I remember right, she spoke on a panel about romantic comedies, and I thought her books sounded perfect for me. The illustrated covers didn't hurt, either. I'm a sucker for those. I ended up buying both this first Wingmen book and the fourth.

I went into this really hoping that I'd enjoy it so that I wouldn't regret also buying that fourth book. Initially, it seemed like I'd made a mistake - I caught two pretty glaring typos in the first 10 pages, not a good sign. Thankfully, I only noticed a couple more errors after that, so it wasn't a sign of worse to come. Still, the copyright page says that this is the second edition, so I'd expect these particularly glaring errors to have been spotted and fixed by now.

Based on the panel I attended, I expected this to be more of a romantic comedy. In reality, it's a contemporary romance with occasional light moments - not a romantic comedy at all, especially when you consider both John and Diane's emotional baggage. Diane had her ugly divorce and years of her husband slowly eroding her self-confidence to overcome. John, meanwhile, had abandonment issues and guilt stemming from his mother's death (by the way, this book was solely hero POV, first person). He had trouble being honest with himself about his feelings. For example, although he initially convinced himself that his relationship with Kelly was just "no strings attached" sex, at least a part of him must have hoped it'd turn more serious, or he wouldn't have been so hurt when their setup fell apart.

John and Diane initially aimed for a platonic friendship, but with a good bit of flirting, which of course eventually led to sex. These two weren't very good at the whole platonic friendship thing, but I enjoyed how well they got along. Sure, they had some emotional baggage, but there wasn't nearly as much drama as I'd expected. No jealous exes storming in and making everyone miserable. All of the book's conflict was internal, focused on John's abandonment issues and the question of whether Diane, a city girl, would even want to stay on the island when her time at Maggie's place was up.

I hate to say this, but as quick and breezy a read as this was, I could have used a bit more conflict. As it was, the story seemed like it was over well before the last page. Although only one of them was called an epilogue, the last three chapters all felt like one long epilogue. And speaking of epilogues, I hated the structure of that last chapter. First we got the moment John proposed to Diane. Then 24 hours before the proposal. Then 18 hours, then six, then one. It was tedious.

Overall, I don't regret reading this and am cautiously optimistic about the other book I bought. It was a relatively light and quick read, despite the main characters' emotional baggage, and John and Diane were a nice couple. That said, it could easily have ended about 20 pages sooner. Also, thinking back, it was weirdly lacking in secondary characters. Tom showed up a few times, Diane went out with some people she knew through work, and John and Diane occasionally encountered employees at places. For the most part, though, it was John and Diane and nobody else. I hope Book 4 gives me a firmer picture of what this island and its inhabitants are like.

No comments:

Post a Comment