I have seen lots of people talking about this recent release and it seemed like a lovely summer romance (which I’ve been really into lately). And bonus, this is a popular, big publisher summer romance with REPRESENTATION (sexually, anyways). That’s right, this is a f/f romance novel. Published right in line with Pride Month. Lovely. And my hold came in at the library the day before I took part in my first readathon (#8intwo hosted by @25in5). Even better.
This romance is, obviously, between Katie and Cassidy. No spoilers there. Haha. Katie was just cheated on by her obnoxiously superior, high society, fiancé…so obviously that’s over. She’s right in the midst of the post-relationship blues when she runs into Cassidy on the job. (They’re both lawyers living in NYC – yay for strong, financially independent women.) They’re both kind of drawn to each other from the start, but that makes much more sense for Cassidy, who has known she’s a lesbian, and been out, for years. However, that doesn’t mean she’s looking for anything serious or complicated…like Katie. Katie has never really been exposed to a world like Cassidy’s before, never really considered a possibility of being gay, isn’t even sure that’s what’s happening now. All she knows is that she’s very drawn to Cassidy.
First, this is an insanely quick read. Like, I read it in about 2.5 hours (which I know because I was timing my reading for aforementioned readathon – a fun perk that I didn’t expect beforehand). That’s partially because it’s smoothly written, fast paced, and super fun. It’s also because it’s a light love story. I mean, yes, there is drama (because you cannot have a real romance novel without any of that), but it is not much more than some of the surface issues that you’d expect a relationship like this to have. To be perfectly honest, this was both a pro and a con for me. I didn’t hate that it was mostly fluffy, addressing some more serious conflicts/themes only in passing (because it would not be genuine without at least recognizing their inevitable existence), but not really delving too deep. It made it a very satisfying summer read. However, it was also a little disappointing because there was such a chance here to really get into some of those conflicts, like Katie’s traditional and Midwestern family that she doesn’t think “likes” gay people, or the differences in Cassidy and Katie’s comfort together in public because one has been out (and practicing dealing with that) for years whereas it’s completely new for the other. Since this was a such a high profile LGBTQ+ release, it had the attention to possibly really open some people’s eyes (though I’m sure it will open some eyes just the way it is…). However, I respect that Perri wanted to write a fluffier romance, that’s her prerogative. And it didn’t stop me from enjoying the story overall.
There were a few other small things that were weird for me. I thought some of the pop culture/song references felt a little forced, but sometimes they worked fine. I’m not sure what the difference was… Also, the whole upstate/horse situation was super uncomfortable to read for me – I personally think that “ranch romance” is one of the most awkward clichés ever – but I see what Perri did, grabbing and re-purposing such a typical hetero-romance-plot, and I can’t be mad at that. On a more positive note, I think she did a great job writing especially Katie’s perspective, as she works through her feelings about Cassidy, what that means for her own identity, and how she can come to terms with that for herself. I imagine that kind of inner confusion, and individual physical exploration, is quite common in similar cases of sexual self-discovery. Perhaps it struck me as so well done because it’s something I can personally identify with on a number of levels. Another thing I was really into was just how SEXY this book was. Perri did not hold back in writing about Cassidy and Katie’s “bedroom time” (that was a cringe-worthy euphemism, I’m so sorry to everyone reading this) – which is the part of romance novels that everyone is looking for, even if they want to pretend that’s not true. High five for all that!
This was just a fast, fun, sexy summer romance. Fairly “typical,” as contemporary romance novels go (other than the f/f aspect of course, though I hope that too one day becomes part of “typical”), but still really enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend this as a poolside, in the back yard with a cocktail, summer book!