November 2008, Contemporary Romance
Sourcebooks, $6.99, 400 pages, Amazon ASIN 1402213395
It feels like it’s been a while since I reviewed a solid contemporary romance. So many of those I’ve read lately felt lacking in some way, even if I enjoyed them. However, Romeo Romeo filled that void, reminding me of all the best things about the genre.
Rosalie Ronaldi is a woman focused on her career. She has no intention of ever getting married nor is she a domestic goddess—both major points of contention with her traditional Italian Catholic family. However, when she gets a flat tire and is stranded on the side of the road, a mechanic with a tow truck pulls over, and gives her a hand.
Turns out that “mechanic” is actually Nick Romeo, “Brooklyn’s Donald Trump,” a self-made millionaire and serial dater. He’s instantly attracted to Rosalie, even though she’s far from his usual type of girlfriends who are fortune-hunting sticks with breasts. He quickly realizes, though, that he would have no chance with her if she knew who he was—the multi-millionaire playboy who, back in his misspent youth, got her older brother arrested. So he neglects to mention that detail. Somewhat inexplicably to both of them, they click instantly (helped along by Nick’s protective instincts when Rosalie gets pneumonia), and Nick suddenly becomes her live-in caretaker, cook, housekeeper, and lover, all rolled into one. Looming over his head, though, is his hidden identity and the fact that his company is at odds with Rosalie’s.
As my roommate succinctly said when I lent her the book, “You can hear the New York accents through the page.” The dialogue is funny, smart, and yet still natural. Ms. Kaye is adept in giving characters distinctive, real voices, both in the dialogue and also the narration.
Nick and Rosalie are both strong, vivid characters. They complimented each other very well and had great chemistry together. At the end, Nick began to frustrate me, though; their fall-out was so imminent, so avoidable, I sometimes wanted to throw the book across the room, though that says as much about how involved with the story I was, as it does about Nick’s idiocy. However, their HEA was very believable and their mutual and inevitable heartbreak before they got to that point definitely tugged on the heartstrings.
There’s also a host of larger-than-life side characters that fleshed out the story. I loved all of them, although sometimes they were a bit too stereotypical to be believable. They certainly added color, though.
Overall this was a snappy, funny, vivid, and romantic story. I had a wonderful time reading it, and can’t wait for Robin Kaye’s next release.
-- Jane Granville
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