Review: 'What I Love About You' by Rachel Gibson (2014)
Once upon a time, Natalie Cooper had it all - as a high school cheerleader she could shake her pom-poms with the best of them. But several years down the line and she's paying for all that popularity when her husband runs off with a 20 year old bimbo. Now she's running a photo shop (and some of the pictures she sees...well, she really shouldn't!) and just trying to be a good mom.
Then she comes toe-to-manly chest with Blake Junger. 'Exiled' to a remote cabin in Truly, Idaho, Blake wants nothing to do with anyone. Instead, he's determined to struggle with his demons and win...all on his own. But he doesn't count on a pint-sized five-year-old visitor - or Natalie Cooper, the kid's lusciously curved mother - to break down his barriers...
I was pleasantly surprised when I found a review copy of best-selling author Rachel Gibson's latest release, 'What I Love About You' in my mailbox. I hadn't read any of her books before, but I straight away liked the cover of the book and the blurb and was quite curious to check it out. Since 1998, Rachel Gibson has written over 20 novels and I'm quite surprised I somehow never picked up one of her books before. However, receiving this review copy provided me with the chance to be introduced to Rachel's work and I looked forward to sitting down with 'What I Love About You'!
Natalie Cooper has been through quite a lot in her life, but she has finally managed to settle down, together with her five-year-old daughter Charlotte. When Natalie found out she was pregnant, it was the happiest moment of her life, but her husband didn't quite agree. He turned out to have embezzled a lot of money and ran away from Natalie and their unborn child to start a new life with his 20-year-old girlfriend. Natalie hasn't focused on men since the whole debacle with her ex-husband, but this changes when brooding and handsome Blake Junger moves in next door. Blake is an ex-Navy SEAL who has come to Truly, Idaho to focus on his own issues and deal with his inner demons. He certainly doesn't plan on spending time with his new neighbours, until he meets Charlotte and her attractive mother Natalie, who manages to catch his attention and he knows he can't ignore the attraction between them, even if he wanted to...
'What I Love About You' is the third part of Rachel Gibson's Truly, Idaho series, but the book can definitely be read as a stand-alone. I have no idea what exactly happened in the other parts of the series, but there wasn't a moment while reading this novel when I felt like I was missing information or didn't understand what was going on. The book is a typical romance read when looking at the plot line and was quite predictable at times, but this didn't bother me. There is a cast of interesting characters; I really liked Natalie, the female protagonist, and Blake is a real alpha male which I expect numerous female readers will fall in love with. I would have liked to have learned more about the characters, because I did feel like the story stayed a bit on the surface instead of really diving into the characters' thoughts and emotions. The attraction between Natalie and Blake was great, though; I loved seeing them fall for one another and the sparks were impossible to ignore, which makes or breaks a romance novel, if you ask me.
I did some research on the book online and fans of Rachel Gibson's work seem to be torn about this particular book; some of them really liking it, some of them not so much. I personally quite enjoyed the book; it's an entertaining romance read with some hot and steamy scenes, and great to pick up if you just want to get away from real life for a couple of hours. I specifically liked Rachel Gibson's writing style and am looking forward to checking out more of her work in the future. Overall, 'What I Love About You' is a fast-paced, fun and easy-to-read romance novel; romance fans will not be disappointed if they decide to pick up this book.