by Georgia Beers
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Publication Date: December 1, 2017
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Accountant and financial advisor Lacey Chamberlain doesn’t consider herself a control freak. She’s merely a planner—orderly, neat, and content in her tidy little life. When a marketing firm moves into the empty office next door, the loud-music-playing, stinky-food-ordering, kickball-in-the-hall staff make Lacey crazy.
Marketing expert Alicia Wright is spontaneous, flies by the seat of her pants, and lives in the moment—all the things Lacey is not. She’s also gorgeous, thoughtful, and seems determined to make Lacey like her.
They say opposites attract, but for how long? And is that really a good idea?
This is my second “opposites attract” romance in a row! What a treat! This is also my the first lesbian romance I’ve ever read (well, if you don’t count Kit Rocha’s Beyond series), and I think it was a lovely introduction.
I liked Lacey. Her life has two main focuses: her dog, Leo, and her job as an accountant and financial planner, so much so that she’s actually had past relationships fizzle because she works too much. Is she a bit boring? Yes, but I felt like I identified with her pretty well. I mean, not everyone is a globe-trotting rock star or model or chocolatier or whatever. It’s nice to have homebodies with office jobs get their HEAs, too! I liked Alicia as well, but found her harder to get a feel for. I’m not a fan of “live in the moment”-type people, in real life or in books, but she had enough balance due to the job that it wasn’t grating for me. She had some hot and cold moments that were initially annoying until more about her past was revealed, and then became more understandable. Also – Leo! I loved that dog. He definitely pushed this book up at least half a star for me!
The run-up to tax day as an accountant wasn’t the most scintillating reading ever, but I thought it gave me a good grasp of how committed Lacey was to her job and how much it consumes her life to the exclusion of everything else, and why a relationship with anyone, especially someone equally involved in her own business, would be difficult. After a good portion of the book, however, the plot takes a bit of a turn and goes in a completely unexpected direction. I was initially nonplussed by the whole thing, but on reflection, I think it did actually work within the frame of the larger plot.
One of my favorite things in the book was the reciprocity in this relationship. Often in “opposites attract” books, it feels like it’s always one partner who’s always giving and giving and giving. In this case, after the initial few times the extroverted Alicia persuades Lacey to go out with her, it turns more balanced. Alicia brings Lacey flowers and balloons on April 15th – a tax accountant’s favorite holiday – and then Lacey later returns the favor when Alicia is at a low point. I thought it was a really sweet example of “for better or worse,” and I think those actions are what really sold me on their relationship. When it comes down to it, they aren’t really, at the heart of it, that different, though. They’re both female small business openers who are driven and focused on their work – so much so that it does create a nice slow-burn romance that occurs over several months (no time for much more than a single drink or delivered take-out during tax season!). They are, quite simply, adorable together.
Without getting into spoilers, some of Alicia’s hot-and-cold behavior is a response to past trauma. Having experienced something similar to Alicia, I felt like it was handled well, for the most part, and her reactions were ones that I’ve had myself. I’ll bang my personal pet peeve drum and say that I don’t remember anyone, even her best friends, recommend she seek out counseling. Her response to some of it is pretty impactful on her work and life, and the fact that she (and Lacey) just power through it and don’t seek outside help smells a bit like the “just put on a happy face” uselessness. Also, the ending felt abrupt. I actually checked twice to make sure I wasn’t missing an epilogue or anything.
Overall, the sweet and adorable relationship was the highlight of this book for me. I’m definitely glad I chose this as my first foray into lesfic!