I tend to shy away from romance novels and I’ve written about that here a bit. I find many unrealistic and the sex scenes make me laugh or feel like a voyeur.
However… I realise my Mills & Boon / Sweet Dream-loving teenage self hasn’t entirely lost her sense of romance. Or hope.
I surprised myself last year by enjoying Victoria Purman’s Only We Know, so when I saw the South Australian author had another book out I decided to take a chance yet again.
Hold On To Me Stella wasn't looking for love – and especially not from a younger man.. Luca Morelli has been working flat out to establish his own building company in the city and doesn't have time to be driving back and forth to the beach to do a small job in a shop that was almost destroyed in a fire. But he soon changes his mind when he meets the glamorous owner. Before long, Stella and Luca find that a working relationship isn't the only thing developing between them. But the closer they get, the ghosts of Stella's past come to haunt her once more. Can she ever believe a man again? And if she can, is the much younger Luca Morelli the man she can trust with her heart?
by Victoria Purman
Published by Harlequin MIRA
on January 1st 2016
When Stella Ryan's successful life in Sydney crumbled, she returned flat broke – and broken hearted – to the beachside town she'd once called home. Five years on, she's opened a boutique and rebuilt her life in the tourist haven of Port Elliot.
Stella wasn't looking for love – and especially not from a younger man..
Luca Morelli has been working flat out to establish his own building company in the city and doesn't have time to be driving back and forth to the beach to do a small job in a shop that was almost destroyed in a fire. But he soon changes his mind when he meets the glamorous owner.
Before long, Stella and Luca find that a working relationship isn't the only thing developing between them. But the closer they get, the ghosts of Stella's past come to haunt her once more. Can she ever believe a man again? And if she can, is the much younger Luca Morelli the man she can trust with her heart?
What I didn’t realise however, was that Hold On To Me was part of a series. Fortunately it didn’t matter that I hadn’t read its three predecessors and I might not have even realised it was the fourth instalment if Goodreads hadn’t told me so. I gather the novels are linked so I’m now a tad keen to go back and read how some of the other couples from the South Australian coastal town/s got together.
Speaking of which, I love that Purman sets her novels in her home state. I didn’t get such a strong sense of place from this latest book, but the setting—a coastal holiday town—is quite different to the island community featured in the previous novel I read.
Again however, she’s created great characters and I very much liked Stella. She was typically headstrong and ‘damaged’ but obviously holding onto a lot of shit she needed to let go.
Luca could have been a bit of a stereotype (ie. the buff younger builder), but he’s also very likeable and we’re provided with a lot of insight into his character. The support cast were strong and I guess Purman’s had some time to work with them to flesh them out… ensuring they’re real and relatable.
The plot’s also solid and I was interested enough to read the entire book in a sitting. I did struggle with the occasional “I’m all man” cliche etc but I’m sure more regular readers of the romance genre—or those less cynical—wouldn’t have a problem. And no… I’m not surprised I’m single either! 😉
I passed an enjoyable few hours with this novel and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. Like I said, I’ll be keeping an eye out for older books in the series will soon need to stop saying I don’t read romance.
Hold On To Me by Victoria Purman was released in Australia via Harlequin MIRA on 1 January 2016.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher for review purposes.
PS. Please bear with me as I’ve just installed a plugin (add-on) on the blog and am still finding my way around it. You may see a few style variations over coming posts!!! Am happy to hear what you think of it (good / bad / meh) also.
January 5, 2016
Thanks so much Deb! And you know, in my world, romance is not a dirty word 😉 Glad you enjoyed it. There are so many other books out there by fabulous Australian authors in this genre that might also bust some myths about what this genre of fiction is all about. Above all else, we believe in a good story.
January 5, 2016
I’m really glad I’m moving outside my usual suspense / thriller / crime fiction genre more and more Victoria. I’m not quite sure I’ll ever get to fantasy / dystopian fiction but…. never say never!
January 8, 2016
I’m not really a romance reader either and I must say that the cover of the book would put me off. I like to imagine what the characters look like, not see a photograph of them. Do you know what I mean? Even when an author describes what the character looks like in great detail, you can still form your own picture in your mind. Still, it has me curious… the younger man/older woman scenario!
January 8, 2016
The cover thing is a hard one. I know Jo Tracey looked at options for her latest novel but her designer couldn’t find anyone who looked like Jo’s vision of her characters (I think!).
I have to admit the only time I really notice the cover characters is when they’re really not like I imagine. (If they’re described as dark, when the person in the pic is blonde.)
I’m not particularly visual though so rarely (never?) visualise the characters I’m reading about.