After reading the synopsis of Above All, I knew I had to check it out. I love the idea of escaping a painful past in a dramatic fashion. And Casey does just this.
The vast majority of this story takes place at a campground in the Adirondacks. This was my first time reading a romance that took place in this kind of setting and it was beautiful. The author went into careful detail about the breathtaking quality of this outdoor setting, which really helped to envision it clearly.
The reason for Casey’s need for solitude is because of a bad breakup with her boyfriend of many years. Her ex was an author, and by chance, she’s given a copy of his much hyped bestseller by her soon-to-be love interest, Ben.
However, after scanning her ex’s new book, she sees that he thanked his new girlfriend, “Above All.” The nerve. The very thing she was looking to escape found her all the way out in mountains.
Despite this painful revelation, she continues on in her role as manager of the Adirondack campground site. She tries to return to the routine that helped her cope—keeping to herself.
However, Ben (the camper who gave her the book) turns into something more than a fleeting crush. She thought escaping could help her tamp down her desires for romance, connection, and closeness. But Ben’s introduction is just a reminder that you can’t run forever.
Casey and Ben have an instant connection. But on his last night (of his initial stay) instead of taking things to the next level, there’s an interesting turn. Ben holds back while she wants to move it forward. This scene was understated, painful, and awkward, but felt true to their character qualities and pasts. Rejection in all its forms is heartbreaking no matter what.
The novel is broken up into seasons, which was an interesting choice. For me, this took away from seeing a clear picture of how their romance (and overcoming their insecurities) truly evolved. There were a lot of time gaps in the flow of this book, and it took away from what their romance could have been.
While their later love scenes were hot, steamy, and well-written, it didn’t feel like they were a couple that could be in it for the long haul. There was an intensity that lacked in their emotional connection. While the author pointed out that Ben was younger than Casey, his other attributes made him feel different from other male leads. He didn’t come across like he fell hard or would die without Casey in his life. That may sound over the top, but it’s that kind of passionate urgency that really makes romance novels memorable.
This was a solid offering from Rebecca Brooks. She’s definitely an author on the rise.
*Many thanks for the ARC I received. It was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.
Above All is out now!
Amazon Author Profile: http://amzn.to/2dzWUyD