Review: Resort to Love – Priscilla Oliveras
by Priscilla Oliveras
Series: Paradise Key #3
Also in this series: Summer Love: Take Two, Love at the Beach Shop, Small Town Love
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
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.
Sometimes, going back to the beginning is the only answer.
Paradise Key Resort holds the best and the worst of Sofía Vargas’s adolescent memories of love and heartbreak. Now, she hopes to wipe the slate clean and boost her career from resort manager to owner by winning a quirky town contest. But when an old flame throws his hat into the ring, Sofía realizes that protecting her heart will be the biggest challenge.
Nathan Patrick Hamilton III has played the part of the good son all his life with one exception—indulging in a secret on again-off again relationship with Sofia in high school and college, knowing that family duty would eventually tear them apart.
Years later, Nathan feels like he finally has a chance to win back the girl of his dreams and right the way he wronged her. But Sofía doesn’t trust or forgive easily and it’s going to take more than kooky town hall meetings, an emergency trip back to Key West, stolen kisses and a re-creation of their first date, for him to even be in the running. Is the ultimate prize the resort or winning back Sofía's heart?
Priscilla Oliveras is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. I’ve read the first two books in her Matched to Perfection trilogy (and am eagerly awaiting the third!), so I was very excited when the ever amazing Sil tweeted that she had a new book coming out. Resort to Love is the third of four books in the Paradise Keys series, each written by a different author, and I initially read it as a stand-alone – though I immediately went back and requested the other three books afterwards! The main character, Sofía, goes to the beach when she needs to energize and reset, and Ms. Oliveras’ books do the same for me. They’re wonderful comfort reads, mildly angsty but still sweet and adorable. One of my favorite things about all her books is how family-centered they are. To an extent, they’ve all been about how your relationships with your family can help or hinder you.
Sofía and Nate originally met as teenagers while working at the Paradise Key resort, Sofía as a summer employee and Nate in management. They start dating, and stay together through college, until a choice by Nate torpedoed their chances at anything more. While back in Paradise Key for the funeral of one of her best friends, she decides to place a bid on the abandoned resort. The big problem? There’s another bidder, and it’s Nate, representing his father’s company. With them competing for the resort, is there any way they can have a second chance at love?
“The same way you took the time to guide me when I started my business.” Tía Mili dried her hands on a blue kitchen towel as she skirted the counter to pull out a chair next to Sofía. “El bien viene del bien.”
Good comes from good. One of her tía’s and her mami’s favorite sayings. Handed down from their mami, Sofía’s abuela, in Puerto Rico.”
Sofía worked her way up to be the manager of a trio of B&Bs in Key West, but longs to set off on her own. She’s not blind to the roadblocks placed in her way solely because she’s young, female, and Latina, but she chooses to focus on what she can do to prove those small-minded people wrong rather than dwell on the unfairness of it. Family is everything to Sofía – she gave up several scholarships to out-of-state colleges to stay close to home, helped her tía set up her own cleaning business, and, despite plenty of reason to, never spoke out against Nate’s father. Even during their teen years, Sofía held back from her relationship with Nate, realizing that she’d never be good enough for his family, and she insists on referring to their relationship as noting more than a summer fling. Nate has tried to live up to his business mogul father since he was a child. Even his hard work at developing a line of boutique hotels for his father’s chain has gone unappreciated and unnoticed. He even went along with an engagement to a family friend to please his parents. He’s frustrated, but finds himself unable to stand up to his father.
Sofía’s keeping a big secret from Nate, one that spurred her to not say anything when told her about his future engagement, and the reasoning behind her actions comes from her strong commitment to family. I’m not a terribly big fan of one character in a romance keeping a giant secret from the other, as so often it feels like the character is taking away the other person’s agency or trying to “protect” them as if they’re a child, but I felt like for Sofía to have done anything else would’ve been against her character – even though she believes his father is suffocating him, she would never say a word to turn him against his family.
“Despite the “back-off” vibe her stiff posture exuded, he knew her well enough to tell that something was wrong. If there was one thing he’d never been able to ignore when it came to Sofía Vargas, it was his desire to always look out for her. Put her needs before his. Even if that need was a distance he didn’t want.”
I’m a big fan of the second-chance love trope, and I think Ms. Oliveras knocked the trope out of the park. I thought, as a couple, Sofía and Nate were written so well. They really felt like people who’d known each other well and loved each other for a long time before the book began. It was obvious from their first interaction outside the resort that they both still had deep feelings for each other, and it was an absolute joy watching them learn to trust again.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’d recommend to fans of second-chance romances, and anyone looking for a summery beach read!