|Holy. Whoa. I never thought that I was a “romance” fan. I fully am eating my words on that one. Between Alyssa Cole and other contemporary and diverse authors I’ve become a rabid fan, eagerly searching out more like this.
As far as this specific book is concerned, I laughed, I cried, and I had just an absolute blast reading it from beginning to end. Portia is so relatable in her personality that I had no problem immersing myself in her story and this world. Her relationships with her friends shown through just their text conversations is put together so well that I felt like they were real and present in the story. Her own fears and anxieties are presented in a sympathetic and non-hysterical or jokey manner, which made my own feel validated. It was amazing to see her growth throughout the novel, and the fact that Alyssa Cole made Portia’s therapy connect to her family and friend relationships grounded the story. I loved the idea that Tav’s character arc is actually the more trope-y one, from pauper to duke, but who doesn’t love a gruff love interest thrust into a world beyond his comfort zone? But the way that Cole handles Portia’s tendency to people please in the context of her relationship with Tav impressed me by giving the strong stance of if they were going to be happy together she couldn’t just be his personal assistant. She was given a voice and power of her own, not reduced to a damsel that needed saving or shaping up. In the world today it can be hard to find moments of happiness and hope, but even though this is fiction, it gave me real concrete feelings that things will be okay eventually. I also really enjoy that even though I read this one without having read Reluctant Royals #1, I was never lost, or confused because they aren’t dependent on each other to make sense.
To sum it all up – go NOW and get this book. I checked the e-book out from my library, but I’ll definitely be purchasing it for a re-read. I love when I find a new author I love this much!