Ainsley Brothers #1
Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Nothing about Alice Wood’s life is normal right now. Her fiancé, Patrick, called off their wedding and relationship only days before their nonrefundable wedding trip. And though a luxurious European river cruise for one is just what she needs, it’s not what she gets...
Due to a horrible misunderstanding, Alice is now cramped in her “romantic” suite with one of Patrick’s friends. Instead of cruising along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers sipping champagne with the love of her life, she’s navigating the waters with a strange—yet mysteriously handsome—British aristocrat.
An author, Elliot is just looking for some alone time to write. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life...and include him in her own happily ever after.
The Importance of Being Alice has an intriguing romantic premise, our lead pair forced together in a way that promises high levels of both tension and antagonism given they have no choice but to share space with a complete stranger. A cute cover and a lighthearted synopsis only pique our curiosity further, and we can't help but dive in with anticipatory glee, ready for something sweet and funny that will leave us with a giddy smile on our faces in the end. While this story is certainly lighthearted and does have the aforementioned happy ending, a number of Alice's personality quirks keep our emotional attachment to her story at bay.
Alice is on the rebound after being unceremoniously dumped by her almost-fiance shortly before their European vacation, earning her our female solidarity from the first chapter. Though we fully support her plan to enjoy her trip despite her ex-boyfriend's seemingly casual dismissal of their two years together, her personality throughout is one that, for lack of a better description, is likely to be more of an acquired taste. She's clearly meant to be endearingly awkward with her tendency to ramble when she's nervous and her habit of talking her way through every sexual moment with Elliott, but her turn of phrase is so juvenile at times as to be downright silly rather than charming or adorable. The aforementioned talking during sex, while again likely meant to keep things light and funny, serves to make us feel all the more like voyeurs given how much is spoken aloud between them, distancing us from the most vulnerable of moments rather than making us feel as though a genuine connection is being built.
Romance readers like myself who love the build-up of a relationship over the course of the book may take issue with the speed at which both a declaration of love as well as a marriage proposal take place, occurring less than a week after they first meet. While the speed with which they fall into bed seems entirely plausible, the hasty marriage and the series of events following their less-than-entirely-legal union is a touch more than we're prepared for, taking this story more into the realm of frustratingly over the top rather than sweetly far-fetched. Overall, The Importance of Being Alice is undoubtedly well-written and has more than a few moments that have us rooting for Alice and Elliott's happiness, but unfortunately a penchant for the oddly youthful turn of phrase on Alice's part keeps us from relating to her as much as we'd like to.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.