Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Kensington Books for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Romeantically Challenged
Author: Marina Adair
ROMeANTICALLY CHALLENGED (When in Rome Book 1)
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Expected publication: July 28th
Description: Growing up the lone Asian in a community of WASPs, Annie has always felt out of place. Her solution? Start a family of her own. Not easy when every man she’s dated, including her ex-fiancé, finds “his person” right after breaking up with Annie. Even worse than canceling the wedding eight weeks beforehand? Learning the “other woman” plans to walk down the aisle wearing her wedding gown. New plan—find a fresh, man-free start. Too bad her exit strategy unexpectedly lands her working at a hospital in Rome, Rhode Island, rather than Rome, Italy, and sharing a cabin with a big, brooding, and annoyingly hot male roommate.
Home on medical leave after covering a literally explosive story in China, investigative photojournalist Emmitt embarks on his most important assignment—cementing his place in his daughter’s life. Three men and a baby might work in the movies, but with a stepdad and devoted uncle competing for Paisley’s attention, Emmitt has lost his place at the family table. Then there’s the adorably sexy squatter in his cabin, who poses another problem, one he’d very much like to solve up close and personal. But he can’t win—Annie has sworn off men, Paisley’s gone boy crazy, and Emmitt’s estranged father reappears with a secret that changes everything.
Annie and Emmitt are about to discover love comes in many forms, and sometimes the best families are the ones we make.
Rating: 4 / 5
This was one of those books that was super cute and funny, but there were definitely some deeper issues masked underneath the fluff.
It follows our main character Anh Nhi (but call her Annie!), who moves to Rome (Rhode Island, not Italy), after being dumped by fiancee who found her s/o after only a month and is getting married at the venue she planned. And it’s been like this her whole life, she gets in a relationship with someone and ‘fixes’ them, only to be dumped and replaced by their soul-mate. But it’s not her that’s problem, right?
In Rome, she unexpectedly meets her new roommate Emmitt, at first glance a womanizer, but actually a dad to a teenage girl that has two other dads. And he has to fight for her attention.
The whole story sounded so crazy to me and I was immediately drawn to it. It has such a witty and funny, but also self-deprecating tinge to it that just makes you want to read more of the story. The characters are not black-and-white, actually none of them is describe to be mean, because as the story continues you learn more about their feelings and life story.
I loved both of our main characters as they learned to accept their own feelings. Annie, that has been disappointed in all of her relationships and Emmitt who has never really had a meaningful relationships, only flings. They need to learn to trust each other and they eventually do.
The greatest thing about this story is that although it’s a romance, the love story is not really brought to us as a main topic and it’s not the only thing that is talked about. I personally think it’s about family and the journey of finding your true self.
Since Annie was born in Vietnam and was adopted by white parents, she felt like an imposter her whole life and she never felt like she belonged in either of those cultures. But as the story progresses she slowly starts understanding and learning more about her roots. My favorite thing was the author’s note at the end, where she explained how her own daughter was also adopted (and also from Vietnam) and it gave the whole story such a realistic feel and I found it so beautiful and touching.
I agree that family is the most important thing, and that is shown to us throughout the whole book. Firstly, Annie’s relationship with her parents who love her unconditionally and they all have such a strong bond. Next, Emmitt’s relationship with his daughter who is also raised by her uncle and her step-dad. I haven’t read a lot of books where the main character is a single father and personally, I loved reading about it. Especially when the dad is trying to get to know his daughter better and have a better relationship with her. And thirdly, Emmitt’s relationship with his own dad and the realization that after so many years he must learn to forgive him.
This book was such a good read and honestly, a breath of fresh air. The only thing I wish was different is the ending (possible spoiler alert). I had this idea in my head that Annie and Emmitt would go to her ex’s wedding in the end and something brilliant would happen. The ending wasn’t even similar to that, though, and I know we all think differently and obviously I’m not the author but I really wanted it to end like that lol. Nonetheless, it was still really good.
There are so many other topics in this book that I haven’t talked about simply because they didn’t cross my mind while writing this post. I think I should start writing notes while reading to keep track of my own thoughts. That’s why I encourage you to read this and see for yourself if you like it as much as I did.
As always, if you’ve already read this (or have written a review) please share your thoughts in the comments.
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