Thanks to the publisher & Edelweiss for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
I grew up loving Julie Garwood’s historicals & I really wanted to like Grace Under Fire, her upcoming romantic suspense release, but this one just doesn’t work for me on multiple levels.
The MCs Isabel Mackenna, a recent college graduate, & Michael Buchanan, who’s no longer a SEAL & currently in between jobs, have had a mildly antagonistic relationship before reconnecting at the beginning of the story. They’ve only met once, at Isabel sister’s wedding (to Michael’s brother) & they didn’t hit it off.
But things are *a little* friendlier now, if only because Michael comes to Isabel’s rescue when she saves a man’s life & shoots another man who shoots at her first.
What follows is quite a lot. The plot of this one feels pretty sprawling to me, with Isabel becoming a singing superstar, traveling (including to Scotland to get her inheritance), trying to avoid being killed, & more.
While I can love a clueless hero &/or an alpha hero & I’ve loved some of Garwood’s other heroes, Michael frequently comes across as excessively so. There isn’t enough for me to love about him & his tone or comments in some moments are grating.
The characterization of Isabel sometimes grates too. It feels like she’s often oblivious & not in a way that the book itself is aware of. She frequently ended up just annoying me, like when she thinks she’s a slut after enjoying her make-out session with Michael so much. I hate to say it but there are other examples of when she veers into TDTL territory for me.
It’s cool seeing other Buchanans again, & on paper I can totally get behind a story about beautiful and brave people falling in love, but this one disappointed me. While I’ll always love Garwood’s historicals, I think I’m not really a fan of her contemporary romantic suspense in general and might not read any future ones.
2.5 ⭐️. Release date: 07/19.
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